E. H. Rainwater, 1971. "Possible Future Petroleum Potential of Peninsular Florida and Adjacent Continental Shelves", Future Petroleum Provinces of the United States—Their Geology and Potential, Volumes 1 & 2, Ira H. Cram
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Peninsular Florida and the adjacent continental shelves comprise an area of about 150,000 sq mi (388,500 sq km) and have a volume of sedimentary rock above crystalline basement of about 315,000 cu mi (1,312,600 cu km). The sedimentary section includes strata of early Paleozoic, Triassic, Jurassic(?), Cretaceous, and Tertiary ages.
Only four small fields have been discovered in Florida from the drilling of about 300 exploratory wells. The fields are located in the South Florida basin, and the productive formation is the Lower Cretaceous Sunniland Limestone.
The speculative recoverable petroleum potential is estimated on the basis of known or inferred conditions during deposition. Lower Cretaceous strata have the greatest potential—estimated speculative reserves of 6.5 billion bbl of oil and 7 trillion cu ft of gas in sandstone and carbonate rocks on the south flank of the Peninsular arch and in limestone reefs of the northern part of the Gulf continental shelf. Upper Jurassic sandstones and carbonate rocks are believed to underlie much of the area west and south of the Peninsular arch, and they are estimated to contain 1 billion bbl of oil and 5 trillion cu ft of gas. Paleocene and lower Eocene carbonate rocks probably have a potential of 200 million bbl of oil and 0.5 trillion cu ft of gas. Paleozoic sandstones of northern Florida and the adjacent continental shelves should contain 100 million bbl of oil and 0.5 trillion cu ft of gas.
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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.