Potential targets for shale-oil and shale-gas exploration in Arizona

In a previous post, “Shale oil potential of Arizona,” I reported on the Arizona Geological Survey’s assessment of the Mancos Shale in the four-corners region of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.  But there is more resource potential in Arizona. The Arizona Geological Survey now has a new report assessing the potential resources of other formations in Arizona for shale oil and shale gas.  The report citation is:

Rauzi, S.L. and Spencer, J.E., 2013, Potential targets for shale-oil and shale-gas exploration in Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey Open File Report, OFR-13-09 v. 1, 9 p.

It may be downloaded for free (2Mb).

AZGS describes the report as follows:

“The recent development of horizontal drilling techniques and application of hydraulic fracturing to horizontal wells has dramatically increased oil and gas production in the U.S., notably in areas with extensive organic-rich shale and calcareous shale deposits. Shale formations that contain hydrocarbons without sufficient porosity and permeability to yield economic amounts of oil and gas with conventional drilling techniques are being reconsidered in light of these technological advances. In this report we identify 10 rock formations in Arizona that consist dominantly of shale or phyllite (very low grade metamorphic shale) that represent potential areas of interest for shale-oil and shale-gas exploration. Many of these units are weakly metamorphosed, and are perhaps too thermally mature to contain recoverable oil or gas in known exposures. However, lateral equivalents of these units may be less metamorphosed and so contain recoverable hydrocarbons. These equivalents could be present but concealed, especially in structurally complex areas in southeastern Arizona.”

The map below shows the areas of interest in Arizona.  Some background: “Over the past decade, oil and gas production in Arizona was largely confined to the Dineh-bi-Keyah and Black Rock fields on the Navajo Reservation.  New exploration and production technologies could change that by bringing organic-rich shale deposits into play. In 2012, Arizona oil production totaled 51,949 barrels from 21 producing wells in 2012, up from 36,925 barrels from 9 wells in 2011. The Dineh-bi-Keyah produced 49,972 barrels of oil. Gas production totaled 116.6 million cubic feet from 4 producing gas wells, down from 168 million cubic feet from 5 wells in 2011.”


Will we eventually see drilling rigs near Tucson?


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