The Greater Rocky Mountain Region covers approximately 1/5 of the contiguous 48 states. The United States Geologic Survey recognizes 22 “provinces” or “areas” in the Region: 18 are productive of oil or gas. They estimate that 10.4 BB oil and condensate and 259.8 TCFG remain to be discovered.

Known source and reservoir rocks extend throughout a thick sedimentary section ranging from Pre-Cambrian to Tertiary in age. Virtually every conceivable type of tectonic and sedimentary environment known is present in some area of the Region. Additional oil production from established plays is not expected to be large. Greatest potential exists in unconventional plays and in sparsely drilled deeper sections of individual basins.

Gas will be more important than oil. Most of the gas potential is related to sources in coal-bearing Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments. Much of this gas will be found in coal bed reservoirs or in low-permeability sandstones. The deeper and less-explored parts of many basins will contain gas because of advanced thermal maturity.

Much of the potential production will fall in the middle and lower ranges of “Masters’ Resource Triangle”, which in the case of the Rocky Mountain Region has a broader base than many other areas of the world. Exploration and development will be greatly influenced by technical, economic and political factors. Examples of recent significant discoveries that may serve as analogs for the future will be presented. Many of these “discoveries” are unconventional accumulations and have resulted from the application of new technology to areas of previously abandoned or non-/sub-commercial wells.

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