Steven Schamel, 2013. "Unconventional Oil Resources of the Uinta Basin, Utah", Heavy-oil and Oil-sand Petroleum Systems in Alberta and Beyond, Frances J. Hein, Dale Leckie, Steve Larter, John R. Suter
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The Uinta Basin in northeastern Utah is one of the principal petroleum provinces of the Rocky Mountains, and interest has been increasingly converging on its large deposits of unconventional hydrocarbon resources. Despite their apparent abundance and shallow depths, however, the bitumens, heavy and extra-heavy oils of the Uinta Basin have hitherto resisted commercial exploitation. They are immobile and technically stranded and will require innovative applications of in-situ thermal recovery methods for commercial production to proceed. Moreover, although some individual oil samples have been intensely investigated, a coherent literature on the physical and chemical properties of the Uinta Basin’s unconventional oil resources is lacking. Nearly all of the exploration, laboratory research, and field trials on the Uinta Basin have concentrated on surface mining and retorting, producing a database that is heavily slanted toward mining methodologies. The occasional pilot studies of in-situ recovery have been very small and inconsequential. The information that does exist on Uinta’s immobile oils is scattered across obscure in-house industry or government reports, unpublished core logs in public files at the Utah Geological Survey, and an array of academic articles. This chapter assembles data from published and unpublished sources to document the variations in the immobile reservoired oils from one part of the basin to another. The focus of this chapter is the geologic setting, the character of the sandstone reservoirs, the properties of the reservoired oils, and the size of the unconventional oil accumulations of the Uinta Basin.