Frank E. Kottlowski, 1971. "Petroleum Potential of Southwest New Mexico and South Arizona", Future Petroleum Provinces of the United States—Their Geology and Potential, Volumes 1 & 2, Ira H. Cram
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Possible future petroleum provinces in southwestern New Mexico and southern Arizona are: (1) Tularosa Valley and Jornada del Muerto basins, where they include parts of the late Paleozoic Orogrande basin in western Otero, eastern Dona Ana, and eastern Sierra Counties; (2) Paleozoic Pedregosa basin of southern Hidalgo and southeastern Cochise Counties (and adjacent parts of Chihuahua in Mexico); (3) Estancia basin in central Torrance County; (4) south flanks of the Zuni Mountains in Valencia, northwestern Socorro, and northern Catron Counties; and (5) small buried Pennsylvanian basins, such as the Lucero basin in eastern Valencia and northwestern Socorro Counties and the San Mateo basin in southwestern Socorro County.
Paleozoic beds with petroleum potential that were deposited in the Pedregosa basin area in southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico consisted of more than 4,800 cu mi (20,000 cu km); the original Paleozoic section in the Orogrande basin consisted of about 7,200 cu mi (30,000 cu km) of marine carbonate rocks and sandstone-shale beds.
Shoreline and nearshore sandstone lenses, algal reef mounds, and shelf-edge bioclastic carbonate banks of Pennsylvanian and Early Permian age, associated with nearby black, organic-rich basinal facies, are primary petroleum targets of the late Paleozoic basin areas, such as the Pedregosa and Orogrande basins, which are similar to the petroliferous Permian basin. Porous dolomite in Leonardian and younger Permian carbonate rocks offers porosity traps in sequences rich in organic materials.
The thick Lower Cretaceous sequence in the Pedregosa region contains sandstone wedges, coralline reefs, and bioclastic banks which all are possible reservoirs. Ordovician and Silurian dolomite beds, especially where overlain by truncating black, shaly Devonian strata, are possible stratigraphic-trap reservoirs, as are the locally porous, biohermal, "crinoidal-hash" limestone beds of the Mississippian.
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The geology of the entire United States, including the continental shelf and slope, was studied by petroleum geologists to determine its petroleum potential. Prospective areas of the 11 regions were assessed qualitatively and, usually, quantitatively.
The prospective basinal area covers approximately 3.2 million sq mi (statute; 8.3 million sq km) and contains approximately 6 million cu mi (25 million cu km) of sedimentary rock above basement or 30,000 ft (9,144 m). Other less prospective areas are, in the aggregate, large.
The prospective area has not been explored adequately. Many high-potential areas are indicated by the geology and extent of exploration, particularly in parts of Alaska, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, and in parts of the offshore of Alaska, California, Louisiana, and Texas. The prospective Atlantic, Florida, and Alaska continental shelves, and the entire continental slope, barely have been touched by drilling, and other prospective areas and depths on land and the continental shelf remain largely unexplored.
Estimates of potential crude oil reserves of the basinal area only, exclusive of known reserves, range from 227 to 436 billion bbl of original oil in place. The potential probably exceeds the mean of 332 billion bbl. Approximately 32 percent of the oil in place would be recoverable at known rates of recovery. Ultimately, the rate of recovery may reach 60 percent.
Estimates of potential natural gas reserves exclusive of known reserves range from 595 to 1,227 trillion cu ft of recoverable natural gas. The gas potential also probably exceeds the mean of 911 trillion cu ft.
The ultimate petroleum potential of the United States, including known reserves, may exceed 432 billion bbl of crude oil, 1,543 trillion cu ft of natural gas, and 49 billion bbl of natural gas liquids.
Finding and developing the large petroleum potential will require a great amount of drilling because a significant percentage of the visualized undiscovered crude oil and natural gas is in stratigraphic traps, combination stratigraphic and structural traps, reefs, and complex structural situations. Estimates of future domestic demand call for accelerated exploration. To the extent that policies of industry and government militate against accelerated exploration, particularly drilling, a high percentage of the petroleum resources of the United States will not be reduced to possession.