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Abstract

Pinedale field, located in Sublette County, Wyoming, is one of the largest natural gas fields in the United States. The discovery and commercialization of this field covers a period of nearly 60 years. During this time, many different companies and people were involved in bringing Pinedale to the point of commercial production. The field produces from the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation on the Pinedale anticline. The Lance Formation is a series of stacked sandstones interbedded with siltstone, mudstone, and shale. The sandstones typically average about 7% porosity with permeabilities in the single-digit micro-Darcy range. In much of the Pinedale field, the Lance reservoir section is over 5500 ft (1700 m) thick, and it is typically overpressured throughout the section. The commercialization of the field was made possible through the convergence of a better understanding of the geology of the reservoir rocks and the nature of the field’s structure as revealed through the use of modern three-dimensional (3-D) geophysical data. This understanding permitted the development and utilization of modern drilling and completion practices that were developed during the drilling of the adjacent Jonah field and that continue to evolve today.

Introduction

Pinedale field (Figure 1) has emerged as one of the largest natural gas fields in the United States. Based on statistics compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2009, the most current year for which the statistics were available, Pinedale ranked third in the United States in gas field size based on proven reserves (U.S. EIA, 2009). The field also ranked 49th in proven oil reserves in the same study. Production in Pinedale field is primarily from the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation, which is characterized as an unconventional tight gas sandstone reservoir. This characterization of the Lance as a tight reservoir is based on the extremely low permeability, mostly in the single-digit micro-Darcy range combined with an average porosity of approximately 7%. The history of exploration and the ultimate commercialization of this field span much of the 20th century. Early geologic fieldwork conducted in this area prior to the 1930s first revealed the existence of dip reversal in the area where the New Fork River crosses what became known as the Pinedale anticline. This surface information was insufficient to identify the crest of the structure or even its true nature (Marvin Matheny, 2012, personal communication). During the 1930s, prior to drilling the initial test well on the structure, single-fold seismic data (100%) was acquired in the area. These data showed that the dip reversal did in fact reveal the presence of an anticlinal structure (Marvin Matheny, 2012, personal communication) and led to the siting of the initial test well, discussed below, on the crest of the structure. Decades of unsuccessful drilling efforts by numerous companies followed this early work. Ultimately, with a better understanding of the geology and the application of improved drilling and completion technologies, the potential of this vast resource was finally unlocked during the late 1990s.

Figure 1.

Map showing the location of the Pinedale and Jonah fields in orange as well as the major features and towns of the Green River Basin in which these two fields are located. The approximate position of cross-section A-A′ shown in Figure 2 is also indicated. Map base from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, ASTER Global Digital Elevation Map.

Figure 1.

Map showing the location of the Pinedale and Jonah fields in orange as well as the major features and towns of the Green River Basin in which these two fields are located. The approximate position of cross-section A-A′ shown in Figure 2 is also indicated. Map base from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, ASTER Global Digital Elevation Map.

Figure 2.

Cross-section across the northern Green River Basin through Pinedale field showing the Lance Pool producing interval. The Pinedale thrust fault is shown cutting up through the section from below the Upper Cretaceous Hilliard Shale and dying out in the Tertiary Fort Union Formation and younger rocks. This general fault pattern is confirmed by regional 2-D seismic. In some areas of the Pinedale anticline the fault seems to originate deeper than this in the section and in some areas the upper extent of the fault does not reach the top of the Lance Formation. Figure adapted from Chapter 3.

Figure 2.

Cross-section across the northern Green River Basin through Pinedale field showing the Lance Pool producing interval. The Pinedale thrust fault is shown cutting up through the section from below the Upper Cretaceous Hilliard Shale and dying out in the Tertiary Fort Union Formation and younger rocks. This general fault pattern is confirmed by regional 2-D seismic. In some areas of the Pinedale anticline the fault seems to originate deeper than this in the section and in some areas the upper extent of the fault does not reach the top of the Lance Formation. Figure adapted from Chapter 3.

At every step along the way, significant physical, mental, and financial capital had to be invested in the project by numerous talented people and companies. The efforts by all these people resulted in a wealth of available data that permitted the geological characterization of the Pinedale anticline and the potential resource of this structure. This understanding and knowledge was critical in driving the evolution of drilling and completion techniques that were necessary to unlock this resource. To all of these men and women, the current participants in the development of the Pinedale field owe a debt of gratitude.

This paper presents a compilation of the memories and observations of the authors, who have been working in the area for over 30 years. In many cases, exact reference citations have been lost from our collective memories. However, the files of the United States Geological Survey, Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC), Wyoming Geological Association (WGA), Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have supporting data covering much of this information. A significant part of the early history was compiled from company files acquired by the authors from El Paso, American Hunter Exploration, Ltd. (American Hunter), CNG Producing, QEP Resources and its predecessor companies, as well as other sources during the course of their work in the area.

Setting and Location: Geography and General Geology

Pinedale field is located in the northern portion of the Green River Basin in Sublette County, Wyoming. The field occurs along much of the Pinedale anticline, with the north end of the field located just west of the town of Pinedale, Wyoming, and extending south-southeast approximately 30 mi (48 km), ending east of the Jonah field (Figure 1).

This portion of the Green River Basin is bounded on the northeast by the Wind River Mountains. The Snake River range of the Western Overthrust Belt lies to the west. To the north is the Gros Ventre range and the Hoback Basin. The south boundary is somewhat indistinct as this portion of the basin merges into the balance of the Green River Basin, the Rock Springs uplift and, to the southwest, the Moxa arch. Law and Spencer (1989; Chapter 3, this volume) describe the overall geologic setting in more detail.

Pinedale field produces mainly from Upper Cretaceous rocks where a thick interval of tight gas sandstones known as the Lance Pool is found. The productive interval extends from the basal Tertiary section down to the Upper Cretaceous Ericson Sandstone, which is part of the Mesaverde Group. This interval has been subdivided and given various informal field level names by the companies operating in the area. The productive interval includes all or portions of the lower Tertiary Wagon Wheel Formation (Law and Spencer, this volume), Lance Formation and Upper Mesaverde interval above the Ericson Sandstone. Most of this section is time stratigraphically equivalent to the Lance, Lewis, and Almond Formations found in other parts of the Green River Basin. The WOGCC recognizes the productive interval as the Lance Pool per the WOGCC hearing Docket 136-2003, dated April 7, 2003 (Figure 2). The cross sections presented in this docket and others on the Pinedale field have shown that the top of the overpressured section is not uniformly consistent with a particular stratigraphic layer but rather can be found extending up into the overlying Wagon Wheel Formation in those areas where that section is productive in the Pinedale field. In areas west of the Pinedale structure, the top of the gas-bearing overpressured interval is located in significantly older units (Law, 1984; Chapter 3, this volume).

In general, the productive rocks are of continental origin with fluvial and alluvial deposits representing a number of other closely related depositional environments. These sediments were deposited over a large area with a mixture of northern, eastern, and western provenance (Law, 1984; Law and Johnson, 1989; Pollastro, 1989). The variety and characteristics of these depositional environments and facies are described in much more detail in other papers in this volume Meyer, McDermott et al. (Chapter 4, this volume) and Chapin, Govert et al. (Chapter 6, this volume).

Early Exploration History

Oil was discovered approximately 55 mi (88 km) east of the Pinedale anticline at the Dallas Dome in the Wind River Basin in 1883. Subsequent oil discoveries in Wyoming and elsewhere were found on surface-mapped anticlines, prompting scientists then working in oil exploration to embrace what became known as the anticlinal theory of oil accumulation in their ongoing search for more oil resources. We have been told that field geologists using traditional geologic field mapping methods found the first indication of a large anticlinal structure in the Pinedale area prior to the 1930s (Marvin Matheny, 2012, personal communication). With the discovery of oil in the Wind River Basin and the anticlinal theory of oil accumulation in mind, the interest of exploration companies at the time was ensured.

In looking at the surface geology of the Pinedale area, the most prominent feature is the Mesa, a large elevated plateau lying immediately south and west of the town of Pinedale. This feature is an erosional remnant capped by glacial outwash gravels dominating the area between the Wind River Mountains to the east and the Western Overthrust Belt to the west. A second prominent feature is the New Fork River, which flows generally north to south in the area. To the south of the Mesa, the flow direction of the New Fork River shifts nearly 90° to the southwest. From this point the river flows southwest across the axis of the anticline until it merges with the Green River west of the Mesa (Figure 3).

Figure 3.

Satellite image of the northern portion of the Green River Basin area showing the location of the Pinedale field in relation to the Wind River Mountains, the Western Overthrust Belt and the town of Pinedale, Wyoming. Also shown is the location of the local topographic feature known as The Mesa, the green areas following the river drainages, and the tan colored high semi-desert plain to the south of the New Fork River. To the northwest of the town of Pinedale is the pronounced coloration change of The Rim, marking a sharp vegetation change from predominately evergreen forest to the north and the sage and grasslands to the south. The Rim is also the drainage boundary between the Hoback River drainage to the north and the Green River drainage to the south. This is the generally accepted division between the Hoback Basin and the Green River Basin. This image comes from the same source as Figure 1, NASA JPL, ASTER.

Figure 3.

Satellite image of the northern portion of the Green River Basin area showing the location of the Pinedale field in relation to the Wind River Mountains, the Western Overthrust Belt and the town of Pinedale, Wyoming. Also shown is the location of the local topographic feature known as The Mesa, the green areas following the river drainages, and the tan colored high semi-desert plain to the south of the New Fork River. To the northwest of the town of Pinedale is the pronounced coloration change of The Rim, marking a sharp vegetation change from predominately evergreen forest to the north and the sage and grasslands to the south. The Rim is also the drainage boundary between the Hoback River drainage to the north and the Green River drainage to the south. This is the generally accepted division between the Hoback Basin and the Green River Basin. This image comes from the same source as Figure 1, NASA JPL, ASTER.

In 1939, The California Company (CALCO) began drilling the initial test well on the Pinedale anticline. This well was located near the crest of the anticline and was most likely sited based on the then available seismic data covering the area. This first well, the California Company Unit #1 (SW NE Sec. 14, T31N, R109W), was drilled to a total depth of 10,002 ft (3048 m) in 1939. The well encountered shows of gas at 4250 ft (1295 m) and several intervals below 8000 ft (2440 m). Gas flowed at a rate of 300 mcf/d on a drill-stem test (Jenkins, 1955). At the time, this section was reported on well records as the lower Tertiary Fort Union Formation (WOGCC well records). More recent subsurface correlation work (Law, 1979) shows that this section properly falls within the Lance Formation of the Lance Pool interval. Details on this well, such as the amount of gas encountered and the results of well tests, are limited. At the time, CALCO’s primary objective was the search for oil rather than natural gas. With the nearest gas pipeline nearly 100 mi (160 km) to the south near the town of Rock Springs, the Unit #1 well was deemed a failure and plugged and abandoned.

The Middle Years: Stanolind Unit #1 through El Paso’s Wagon Wheel #1

After the initial failure of the CALCO Unit #1, it was not until 1949 that new drilling began in the Pinedale area. The next phase of exploration began with the drilling by Stanolind Oil and Gas Company (Stanolind) of the Stanolind-Murphy Oil No. 1 Unit (NW SE Sec. 17, T33N, R109W). This well was drilled to a total depth of 7797 ft (2376 m) in the Tertiary Fort Union Formation (Jenkins, 1955). No shows were reported, and the well was plugged and abandoned (WOGCC well records).

Shortly after this, El Paso Natural Gas Company (El Paso) in partnership with the Continental Oil Company (Continental) and Malco Refineries (Malco) assembled a large block of leases in the Pinedale area and began drilling what was to be the first of a series of exploration wells on the structure. The initial test well of this partnership, the Pinedale Unit #1 (NE SE Sec 9, T30N, R108W), spudded on July 14, 1954, and reached a total depth of 10,550 ft (3216 m; WOGCC well records). Most of these wells were drilled into what we now know to be the sandstones of the Lance Pool. While gas was encountered in nearly all of these wells, unfortunately the best drilling and completion practices of the day were unable to recover economic production from these very tight sandstones. However, several of the wells were completed as low-volume gas producers, holding large tracts of land in this area by production (El Paso company files acquired by Ultra).

In 1968 El Paso shot the first multifold two dimensional (2-D) seismic surveys over the structure in preparation for the next phase of exploration in the field. With the completed wells to this point being only low-volume gas producers and with the aforementioned infrastructure difficulties, the potential for economic development of the area was greatly diminished (Figure 4, Table 1).

Figure 4.

Early drilling activity in the Pinedale field from 1939 to 1971: information for the wells shown is included in Table 1. General outlines for the Pinedale and Jonah fields as well as location of the town of Pinedale are shown. Wells shown in red were originally completed as productive while those in black were plugged and abandoned. 5 mi (8 km)

Figure 4.

Early drilling activity in the Pinedale field from 1939 to 1971: information for the wells shown is included in Table 1. General outlines for the Pinedale and Jonah fields as well as location of the town of Pinedale are shown. Wells shown in red were originally completed as productive while those in black were plugged and abandoned. 5 mi (8 km)

List of the early wells drilled on the Pinedale anticline. Locations of these wells are shown in Figure 4.

Table 1.
List of the early wells drilled on the Pinedale anticline. Locations of these wells are shown in Figure 4.
Ref #API NumberOperatorWell Name & NumberCompletion DateLocation all 6th PM
GOVT149-035-06193The California Co.Gov’t. 1April 19, 1940SW NE, S14, T31N, R109W
SPU149-035-60006Stanolind O&G Co.Pinedale Unit 1March 29, 1949NW SE, S17, T33N, R109W
PD149-035-07120El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 1February 10, 1955NE SE, S9, T30N, R108W
PD249-035-07124El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 2January 5, 1956SE1/4, S29, T31N, R108W
PD349-035-07125El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 3January 5, 1956C NW1/4, S13, T31N, R109W
PD449-035-07126El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 4January 30, 1956C NW1/4, S34, T32N, R109W
PD549-035-08024El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 5September 10, 1956C SE1/4, S5, T30N, R108W
PD649-035-07017El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 6May 15, 1957SE NW, S21, T30N, R108W
PD749-035-06167El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 7December 12, 1960SE NE, S15, T30N, R108W
TB149-035-06378Texaco E&P1 Tabernacle ButteMarch 4, 1963NE SW, S25, T29N, R107W
PD849-035-06381Mtn. Fuel SupplyPinedale 8January 6, 1964NE SW, S20, T33N, R109W
WW149-035-20124El Paso Nat. GasWagon Wheel 1August 1, 1971SE NW, S5, T30N, R108W
Ref #API NumberOperatorWell Name & NumberCompletion DateLocation all 6th PM
GOVT149-035-06193The California Co.Gov’t. 1April 19, 1940SW NE, S14, T31N, R109W
SPU149-035-60006Stanolind O&G Co.Pinedale Unit 1March 29, 1949NW SE, S17, T33N, R109W
PD149-035-07120El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 1February 10, 1955NE SE, S9, T30N, R108W
PD249-035-07124El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 2January 5, 1956SE1/4, S29, T31N, R108W
PD349-035-07125El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 3January 5, 1956C NW1/4, S13, T31N, R109W
PD449-035-07126El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 4January 30, 1956C NW1/4, S34, T32N, R109W
PD549-035-08024El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 5September 10, 1956C SE1/4, S5, T30N, R108W
PD649-035-07017El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 6May 15, 1957SE NW, S21, T30N, R108W
PD749-035-06167El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 7December 12, 1960SE NE, S15, T30N, R108W
TB149-035-06378Texaco E&P1 Tabernacle ButteMarch 4, 1963NE SW, S25, T29N, R107W
PD849-035-06381Mtn. Fuel SupplyPinedale 8January 6, 1964NE SW, S20, T33N, R109W
WW149-035-20124El Paso Nat. GasWagon Wheel 1August 1, 1971SE NW, S5, T30N, R108W

In January 1963, Texaco, Inc. (Texaco) began drilling the #1 Tabernacle Butte (NE SW Sec. 25, T29N, R107W) and reached a total depth of 11,008 ft (3355 m). A formation tester and wireline logs were run in March, 1963. The well was deemed noncommercial and converted for use by the U.S. Department of Defense under the Vela-Uniform program for the detection of underground nuclear tests (WOGCC Well Records). This was the southernmost well drilled at that time on the anticline. The location of this well, and the federal exploratory unit in which it was drilled, were selected based on single-fold seismic data that was shot by Texaco in 1937 (Riggs, 2008, personal communication).

Mountain Fuel Supply spudded the Pinedale #8 (NE SW Sec. 20, T33N, R109W) on September 19, 1963, on lands acquired in a farm-out agreement from El Paso. Production casing was set to a total depth of 10,500 ft (3200 m) before plugging back to 10,038 ft (3060 m). Several intervals were perforated between 9116 and 9860 ft (2779 and 3005 m), and a sand-oil fracture treatment was performed. The well was completed on January 6, 1964, with an initial potential rate of 1250 thousand cubic feet of gas per day (mcf/d) from the then termed Fort Union Formation, but now understood to be the Lance Formation as currently defined (QEP Resources internal company records). Again, due to the distance to a gas gathering system, the well was not hooked up for gas sales.

On October 3, 1969, El Paso began drilling the Wagon Wheel #1 well (SE NW Sec. 5, T30N, R108W). The well reached a total depth of 19,000 ft (5791 m) in the Hilliard Shale on March 4, 1970, which made it the then deepest well drilled on the Pinedale anticline. This well was drilled in cooperation with the Atomic Energy Commission as one of the test wells in the U.S. Government’s Operation Plowshare test program. This program was developed to evaluate the use of nuclear devices to fracture stimulate tight sandstone reservoirs as discussed by Longman and colleagues (Chapter 8). This planned program for the detonation of nuclear devices in the well bore was abandoned before any of the devices were placed and detonated. However, the wealth of data recovered in the preparation process greatly enhanced the understanding of the tight gas reservoir section on the Pinedale anticline.

Phase III: 1980 Through Establishment of Commercial Production

Following on the pioneering work of the early operators, other companies continued to push forward in the attempt to establish commercial levels of production in the Pinedale field area. Many of these will be discussed below in some sense of chronological order. All operators were trying to follow up on the early gas discoveries in an attempt to unlock the commercial potential of this large structure (Figure 5, Table 2).

Figure 5.

Drilling during Phase III in the 1980s and early 1990s when the first commercial production was established at the north end of the field by Ultra Petroleum in the Mesa 15-8 well. Data for the wells shown on this map are summarized in Table 2. General outline for the Pinedale and Jonah fields as well as the location of the town of Pinedale, Wyoming, are shown. Same well color convention as Figure 4 except the solid black dot of the New Fork #1, which was originally reported as oil productive. 5 mi (8 km)

Figure 5.

Drilling during Phase III in the 1980s and early 1990s when the first commercial production was established at the north end of the field by Ultra Petroleum in the Mesa 15-8 well. Data for the wells shown on this map are summarized in Table 2. General outline for the Pinedale and Jonah fields as well as the location of the town of Pinedale, Wyoming, are shown. Same well color convention as Figure 4 except the solid black dot of the New Fork #1, which was originally reported as oil productive. 5 mi (8 km)

Phase III: The 1980’s through establishment of commercial production in early 1998. Locations of these wells are shown in Figure 5.

Table 2.
Phase III: The 1980’s through establishment of commercial production in early 1998. Locations of these wells are shown in Figure 5.
Ref #API NumberOperatorWell Name & NumberCompletion DateLocation all 6th PM
MS149-035-20589WexproThe Mesa Unit 1August 15, 1981NE NE, S7, T32N, R109W
JSN149-035-20606Leonard HayJensen 1December 1, 1981SW NW, S11, T31N, R109W
MS249-035-20620WexproThe Mesa Unit 2June 22, 1981SE NW, S16, T32N, R109W
NF149-035-20671American HunterNew Fork 1July 10, 1981SW NE, S25, T30N, R108W
NF249-035-60028American HunterNew Fork 2July 8, 1981SW NE, S2, T30N, R108W
NF449-035-20656American HunterNew Fork 4July 24, 1984NW SE, S35, T31N, R109W
BF21-3449-035-02661Black Coal Res.Baumgartner Fed 21-34December 12, 1981NE NW, S24, T33N, R110W
JSN249-035-20748Leonard HayJensen 2August 10, 1983SE SE, S11, T31N, R109W
NF11-849-035-21328Meridian Oil, Inc.New Fork Fed 11-8November 10, 1994NW NW, S8, T30N, R108W
VBl149-035-21362Sheffield Expl. Co.Vible #1February 20, 1995SE NE, S11, T31N, R109W
MS22-249-035-21494Alpine GasMesa 22-2December 11, 1996SE NW, S2, T31N, R110W
PD1-1449-035-21512McMurry Oil Co.Pinedale 1-14March 1, 1997NE NE, S14, T31N, R109W
NF13-1049-035-21646McMurry Oil Co.New Fork 13-10May 4, 1998SW SW, S10, T30N, R108W
MS15-849-035-21680Ultra PetroleumMesa 15-8January 4, 1998SW SE, S8, T32N, R109W
Ref #API NumberOperatorWell Name & NumberCompletion DateLocation all 6th PM
MS149-035-20589WexproThe Mesa Unit 1August 15, 1981NE NE, S7, T32N, R109W
JSN149-035-20606Leonard HayJensen 1December 1, 1981SW NW, S11, T31N, R109W
MS249-035-20620WexproThe Mesa Unit 2June 22, 1981SE NW, S16, T32N, R109W
NF149-035-20671American HunterNew Fork 1July 10, 1981SW NE, S25, T30N, R108W
NF249-035-60028American HunterNew Fork 2July 8, 1981SW NE, S2, T30N, R108W
NF449-035-20656American HunterNew Fork 4July 24, 1984NW SE, S35, T31N, R109W
BF21-3449-035-02661Black Coal Res.Baumgartner Fed 21-34December 12, 1981NE NW, S24, T33N, R110W
JSN249-035-20748Leonard HayJensen 2August 10, 1983SE SE, S11, T31N, R109W
NF11-849-035-21328Meridian Oil, Inc.New Fork Fed 11-8November 10, 1994NW NW, S8, T30N, R108W
VBl149-035-21362Sheffield Expl. Co.Vible #1February 20, 1995SE NE, S11, T31N, R109W
MS22-249-035-21494Alpine GasMesa 22-2December 11, 1996SE NW, S2, T31N, R110W
PD1-1449-035-21512McMurry Oil Co.Pinedale 1-14March 1, 1997NE NE, S14, T31N, R109W
NF13-1049-035-21646McMurry Oil Co.New Fork 13-10May 4, 1998SW SW, S10, T30N, R108W
MS15-849-035-21680Ultra PetroleumMesa 15-8January 4, 1998SW SE, S8, T32N, R109W

Wexpro Company (an affiliate of Mountain Fuel Supply), following up on Mountain Fuel Supply’s earlier efforts in the area, formed a federal exploratory unit called The Mesa Unit in October 1980 to extend federal leases that were not held by production in the contracted El Paso-operated Pinedale Unit. Wexpro drilled a two-well project in The Mesa Unit in 1980 and 1981 under a cost-sharing arrangement with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Gas Research Institute (GRI). Mesa Unit #1 (SW NE NE Sec. 7, T32N, R109W) spudded September 6, 1980, and Mesa Unit #2 (NW SE NW Sec. 16, T32N, R109W) spudded January 3, 1981; both wells were extensively cored. The objective of this project was to demonstrate the commercial viability of this identified, but heretofore uneconomic, unconventional natural gas resource. As listed below, the program had six major task areas and was conducted over a two-year period (Greenfield, 1981):

  1. Review and analyze prior work, test an existing well (Mountain Fuel Supply, Pinedale #8), drill two new wells, conduct precompletion testing, and complete the new wells using the latest completion technology;

  2. Apply state-of-the-art technology covering in-situ stress testing, prestimulation well flow testing, simulation fluid and proppant testing, stimulation design, and wellbore stimulation (this work was undertaken in parallel with the feasibility study work and was funded separately);

  3. Perform post-stimulation tests, production curve fitting analysis, and recoverable reserve calculations;

  4. Develop an interim market for test production;

  5. Conduct environmental, health, safety, and socioeconomic studies;

  6. Prepare a commercial development plan, develop alternative gas transportation arrangements, and analyze and select the most suitable gas transportation arrangement.

DOE and GRI shared the costs of this project with Mountain Fuel Supply/Wexpro, and TerraTek Corporation supplied technical assistance to the partners in the project. Additional GRI funding was provided through CER Corporation for coring operations. Three reports contain very detailed descriptions of all the studies and extensive analyses were conducted on the cores from the two new test wells, including mineralogical analyses, clay petrology, rock mechanics, fracture fluid effectiveness, and regained permeability associated with various fracture fluids (Greenfield, 1981, 1982a,b).

After the Mesa Unit #1 and #2 wells were drilled, a commercialization study program included a long-term production test of the two wells (Tables 3 and 4). This 10-month extended test was an attempt to obtain data that would allow for more reliable predictions of production lifetimes and recoverable reserves of the Pinedale field (Greenfield, 1981, 1982a,b; Mountain Fuel Supply, 1982). Again, because of a lack of infrastructure and due to the fact that the wells could not be vented to the atmosphere on a long-term basis, gas gathering and transportation for this production test were problematic. On a short-term basis, trucking the gas was the most logical solution. A gathering line was laid to connect the Mesa Unit #1 and #2 wells into the existing El Paso gathering system that had been built in 1958 and a loading facility (Figures 6 and 8) was built where the gathering system crossed State Highway 351 in order to compress the gas and truck it to an unloading facility built near Big Piney, Wyoming (Figures 7 and 8). At the unloading facility the gas was sold into an existing gathering system that was already connected to the Northwest Pipeline. Pressure Transport Incorporated had developed a method to truck gas from isolated wells. High-pressure cylinders were connected by manifolds and mounted on trailers. The trailers typically contained 10 horizontal, cylindrical, forged pressure vessels 22 in (0.56 m) in diameter and 34 ft (10.4 m) long. The trailers, each capable of carrying up to 2000 mcf, were used to transport the compressed gas. They were generally loaded with between 500 and 2000 mcf depending on the gas volumes available at the loading facility and the round-trip times to unload. Several trailers were used along with a single tractor. The rotation of multiple trailers permitted continuous operation with one trailer being filled at all times while the full trailers were making the trip to and from the unloading facility. Depending on the gas volumes available, one or more trailers were always available to be loaded so that the wells could produce continuously (Mountain Fuel Supply, 1982).

Figure 6.

Archive photo from QEP Resources files showing trailer loading facilities including the regulators and pressure monitor controls used for loading gas into the tanks on a flat bed trailer. Trucking gas with this equipment helped save the QEP Resources leases at the north end of the Pinedale field during the early phases of field development.

Figure 6.

Archive photo from QEP Resources files showing trailer loading facilities including the regulators and pressure monitor controls used for loading gas into the tanks on a flat bed trailer. Trucking gas with this equipment helped save the QEP Resources leases at the north end of the Pinedale field during the early phases of field development.

Figure 7.

Archive photo from QEP Resources files showing trailer unloading facilities including the regulators and pressure monitor controls along with the meter facilities and line heater where gas from Pinedale field was initially offloaded from the trucks in conjunction with the facilities shown in Figure 6.

Figure 7.

Archive photo from QEP Resources files showing trailer unloading facilities including the regulators and pressure monitor controls along with the meter facilities and line heater where gas from Pinedale field was initially offloaded from the trucks in conjunction with the facilities shown in Figure 6.

Figure 8.

Map showing the significant wells, gathering systems, and truck routes used for transporting gas from the Pinedale field during the 1980s and early 1990s. From QEP Resources archive files.

Figure 8.

Map showing the significant wells, gathering systems, and truck routes used for transporting gas from the Pinedale field during the 1980s and early 1990s. From QEP Resources archive files.

Wexpro Mesa Unit #1 long-term production test results after initial completion in 1983.

Table 3.
Wexpro Mesa Unit #1 long-term production test results after initial completion in 1983.
MonthCondensate (bbls)Gas (mcf)Days ProducedCondensate GravityNotes
Mar-83023,45831Begin flow test
Apr-83019,39930
May-833624,1551053
Jun-8319121,2152960
Jul-8316622,2263151
Aug-8308,46212Begin shut-in for pressure build up
Sep-8300
Oct-8300
Nov-8300
Dec-8300End pressure build up test
MonthCondensate (bbls)Gas (mcf)Days ProducedCondensate GravityNotes
Mar-83023,45831Begin flow test
Apr-83019,39930
May-833624,1551053
Jun-8319121,2152960
Jul-8316622,2263151
Aug-8308,46212Begin shut-in for pressure build up
Sep-8300
Oct-8300
Nov-8300
Dec-8300End pressure build up test

Wexpro Mesa Unit #2 long-term production test results after initial completion during 1983.

Table 4.
Wexpro Mesa Unit #2 long-term production test results after initial completion during 1983.
MonthCondensate (bbls)Gas (mcf)Days ProducedCondensate GravityNotes
Mar-83011,46731Begin flow test
Apr-83010,52830
May-8307,74631
Jun-838511,0023049
Jul-83011,45331
Aug-8304,90712Begin shut-in for pressure build up
Sep-8300
Oct-8300
Nov-8300
Dec-8300End pressure build up test
MonthCondensate (bbls)Gas (mcf)Days ProducedCondensate GravityNotes
Mar-83011,46731Begin flow test
Apr-83010,52830
May-8307,74631
Jun-838511,0023049
Jul-83011,45331
Aug-8304,90712Begin shut-in for pressure build up
Sep-8300
Oct-8300
Nov-8300
Dec-8300End pressure build up test

Three contractual agreements between Mountain Fuel Supply and other companies to transport gas were finally prepared. These included a lease agreement with El Paso to use its gathering system, a contract with Pressure Transport, Incorporated to initiate trucking of the gas, and a contract with Northwest Pipeline to tie into its transmission line. The plan was that, if this temporary method of gas transportation proved continued production was economically feasible, a complete pipeline program would be established (Greenfield, 1982b).

Independent producer Leonard Hay from Rock Springs, Wyoming, also drilled two wells (Jensen #1 and Jensen #2) on the fee lands along the New Fork River where it crossed the crest of the anticline. These wells, completed with large slick-water frack jobs, began producing in December 1982. Initially Hay’s wells were connected to the El Paso gathering system from which the gas was trucked. In 1983, the El Paso system was connected to the newly completed Williams Field Services Gobblers Knob gathering system (Figure 8). With the ability to flow to market through this pipeline, these wells proved to be marginally commercial.

In the southern portion of the field, American Hunter, the U.S. subsidiary of Canadian Hunter Exploration, Ltd. (Canadian Hunter), entered into an agreement with El Paso to take over its large acreage position in an effort to keep this acreage productive and maintain the leasehold.

The following is an excerpt from an unpublished report by Elliot A. Riggs and Walter K. Arbuckle with Fossil Associates, Denver, Colorado, providing some additional information concerning the exploration activity that was taking place in the Pinedale area at this time.

In the mid 1970s, Fossil Associates was approached by El Paso Natural Gas Co. (El Paso), with a potential farm-out of its acreage position in their large federal unit on the southern part of the Pinedale anticline in Sublette County, Wyoming. El Paso was no longer willing to continue to spend money at Pinedale due to its past lack of success and low gas price market conditions. At the same time the BLM wanted to contract the size of the unit and El Paso wanted to preserve its position for any possible future development.

After successful conclusion of these negotiations, Fossil contacted John Masters of Canadian Hunter to determine its interest in the project. Masters had finally made sense of the geology controlling the production in the San Juan basin (i.e., why there was gas in the bottom of a syncline below a water leg around the rim of the basin). This understanding was also the basis for drilling down dip from water-productive wells on the east flank of the Alberta Deep basin. The well drilled in this area, based on this understanding became the discovery well for the giant Elmworth field (Masters, 1984). After evaluating all the information available on the nature of the tight, gas-charged sandstones found on the Pinedale anticline a deal was struck. American Hunter, a subsidiary of Canadian Hunter, drilled three test wells at Pinedale (Table 2). Only one of these wells encountered the geology expected and this proved to be an economic failure. While the three wells proved uncommercial, they prevented the loss of the majority of the El Paso leasehold, keeping this intact for future acquisition.

With continued evaluation of the well results, Fossil Associates was more convinced than ever that what we were seeing was a matter of formation damage during drilling (and possibly completion, too). Under the microscope, the Lance sandstones are some of the world’s worst looking reservoir rocks. They are of a heterogeneous make-up, filled with interstitial clay, with little or no visible porosity. Yet when first penetrated, DST’s commonly yielded fair amounts of gas. Weeks later, however, after exposure to bore hole drilling fluids, cement and other introduced fluids, they tended to be almost non productive.

In the old El Paso drilling records, we observed that some of its wells drilled in the 1950s, had DST’s run immediately after encountering sandstones with shows. Generally, these gas flows were fairly substantial. After drilling the hole to TD, running a number of DSTs with impressive cumulative gas flow rates, the wells would barely produce upon completion. Again, we saw this as a direct indication of formation damage due to the introduced fluids.

While the then held opinion was that the well stimulation operations would reach through the damaged section to the undamaged productive part of the reservoir, this did not seem to work in actual practice at Pinedale. It became critical to find a way to minimize formation damage for Pinedale to obtain commercial production.

With the leasehold in the core of the Pinedale anticline held by production for El Paso, we shifted our focus for further lease acquisition to the areas around this held-by-production (HBP) acreage. During this period of acreage acquisition, we encountered no competition from others and were generally able to acquire the acreage for the minimum bid at BLM lease sales. With this philosophy for lease acquisition of “trend acreage at trend prices”, we were successful in assembling a lease position of nearly 100,000 acres in the area.

As part of a larger exploration effort in the Rocky Mountain region, CNG Producing Company, New Orleans, Louisiana (CNG), acquired this acreage position from Fossil Associates in the early 1980s. From this point until the mid 1990s, except for a several year period when Coastal Oil & Gas, Denver, Colorado took over the lease position, CNG continued a low level of interest in the area. During the early 1990s, CNG drilled several wells to the southeast of Pinedale on this acreage block. The drilling and completion plans for these wells did not take advantage of the knowledge gained to date in the Pinedale area with predictable sub-commercial results. The test results from these early wells resulted in CNG redirecting its efforts and eventually divesting their Rocky Mountain assets. This put the pieces in motion that would lead to Ultra Petroleum Corporation (Ultra) ultimately acquiring this leasehold from CNG.

With this toehold, Ultra was then able to acquire the majority of the old El Paso unit leasehold at a modest cost. This provided additional motivation, as well as some leverage to acquire, via a farm-in arrangement, the rights to the acreage on the northern portion of the field that Mountain Fuel, then Celsius, controlled.

For most of the 20th century, the Pinedale field waited in a forgotten corner of the Green River Basin for the convergence of the ideas, techniques, equipment, economics, demand, transportation, and inspiration needed to bring this field to commercial production. During the early 1990s, the final stage of exploration leading to full commercial development at Pinedale began. Meridian Oil Company (Meridian) acquired the El Paso leasehold and drilled its New Fork 11-8 test well (NW NW Sec. 8, T30N, R108W) in 1994 to a depth of 11,587 ft (3532 m). Again, good gas shows were noted in the Lance Formation, but fracture stimulation failed to produce gas at commercial rates, and the well was plugged and abandoned on November 10, 1994. At about this same time, Chevron Corporation (Chevron), Texaco, Vastar Resources, Inc. (Vastar), and CNG were active in and around the area drilling test wells to the west and south of the Pinedale anticline. These wells all encountered shows of gas within the Lance interval, but all proved to be noncommercial. After several years, these companies began to divest themselves of these properties.

Most of the required pieces of the puzzle were in place in the early 1990s when John Martin and the McMurray Oil Company of Casper, Wyoming (McMurray), began work in the Jonah area, southwest of the Pinedale anticline (Figures 1, 3). Over a period of several years they carefully developed the drilling and completion procedures that were producing commercial results in overpressured tight sands in other areas, finally publishing their methods and results (Flack et al., 1997). McMurray had acquired the existing leasehold and three old shut-in gas wells from the prior owners (Robinson, 2004). These old wells were put into production and, after further analysis, a group of new wells were drilled and completed utilizing underbalanced drilling and massive, multistage hydraulic fracturing techniques.

In 1997 Ultra purchased an interest in 80 sections on and around the Pinedale anticline for $11.3 million from Burlington Resources. With these interests and a farm-out from Questar, the Mesa 15-8 (SW SE Sec. 8, T32N, R109W) was drilled. Operations on this well commenced late in 1997 to meet the obligations under the terms of the farm-out with the well reaching a total depth of 13,028 ft (3971 m) in the Upper Mesaverde interval. Completion of the first four of the 10 planned stimulation stages were pumped and the well was placed into production on January 4, 1998. During the summer of 1998 Ultra went back to the Mesa 15-8 well and fracture stimulated the remaining six zones. The full wellbore was then opened and tested at a combined initial production (IP) rate from the total completed Lance interval of nearly 16 Mmcf of gas per day. Ultra used the knowledge gained from its successful Jonah program, which built on the McMurray methods, in designing the drilling and completion program for this well. The Mesa 15-8, when fully completed, was the largest individual producer at that time in the Pinedale field area and was the turning point for commercial production in the field.

The drilling and completion of the Mesa 15-8, along with a group of successful wells by McMurry on a checkerboard farm-in from Burlington Resources in the old New Fork Participating Area, paved the way for the economic development of Pinedale field. The next step for the field was getting the plan for development approved by the BLM. To accomplish this, Ultra proposed developing the field from a total of just 700 multi-well pad locations spread within the then known field area. At the same time, Ultra negotiated an agreement with PacifiCorp Energy (PacifiCorp), owner and operator of the Naughton coal fired power plant in southwestern Wyoming, to jointly fund power plant upgrades, which would reduce NOx emissions in southwest Wyoming by an amount greater than the wells on the 700 multiwell pads would emit (Albertus and Goodman, 1999). With this emissions reduction in place, the first environmental impact statement for the initial phase of Pinedale field development was approved in a timely fashion and commercial development of the field began.

Many hurdles, technical, environmental, and political, had to be crossed to make Pinedale field an economic success. Some of the early history of the field can be gleaned from the WGA’s Wyoming Oil and Gas Fields Symposia dated 1957, 1979, and 1992 (Figures 9, 10, and 11). There is also an extensive history of data that has been presented before the WOGCC through the years that can also be consulted to help the understanding of the field.

Figure 9.

Early summary of field discovery information for Pinedale field and a structure map for the field as published in the Wyoming Geological Association’s 1957 Wyoming Oil & Gas Fields Symposium. The reservoir was considered part of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation at that time but is now known to be part of the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation.

Figure 9.

Early summary of field discovery information for Pinedale field and a structure map for the field as published in the Wyoming Geological Association’s 1957 Wyoming Oil & Gas Fields Symposium. The reservoir was considered part of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation at that time but is now known to be part of the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation.

Figure 10.

Summary of field data for Pinedale field as published by Matheny (1979) in the Wyoming Geological Association’s 1979 Wyoming Oil & Gas Fields Symposium on the Green River Basin. Reservoir rocks were still considered to be part of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation but are now known to be part of the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation.

Figure 10.

Summary of field data for Pinedale field as published by Matheny (1979) in the Wyoming Geological Association’s 1979 Wyoming Oil & Gas Fields Symposium on the Green River Basin. Reservoir rocks were still considered to be part of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation but are now known to be part of the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation.

Figure 11.

Summary of field data for Pinedale field from Sansone and Brown (1992) published in the Wyoming Geological Association’s Wyoming Oil & Gas Fields Symposium on the Green River Basin and Overthrust Belt. The reservoir was still considered part of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation.

Figure 11.

Summary of field data for Pinedale field from Sansone and Brown (1992) published in the Wyoming Geological Association’s Wyoming Oil & Gas Fields Symposium on the Green River Basin and Overthrust Belt. The reservoir was still considered part of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation.

Geophysical Exploration Efforts

After identifying the presence of the Pinedale anticline from surface geology, operators used all available exploration and imaging tools prior to the field’s eventual commercialization. These tools included gravity, magnetic, and seismic data. It was the development of the reflection seismic method in 1921 that provided the ideal tool to investigate the subsurface (Dragoset, 2005). The first reflection seismic methods used in exploration were single-shot, paper records from discrete points. This technique yielded a depth, dip, and azimuth for a reflection and eventually evolved into the continuous seismic profiles still recorded on paper records. With time, the technology to record seismic data on analog magnetic tape was developed. However, all these methods were still based on single-fold or 100% seismic acquisition. With the advent of new techniques and technologies, the era of common depth point, multifold seismic began. Initially these datasets were recorded using analog recording equipment. Over time this equipment was replaced with digital recording systems that have since evolved into our modern recording systems. In the 1990s, 3-D seismic was first brought into play in the Pinedale area after the establishment of commercial production in the field. The first surveys were acquired as part of the development of the adjacent Jonah field, but ultimately surveys were acquired covering the entire Pinedale field area.

In 1936, a Geophysical Service Incorporated (GSI) crew was working near Pinedale, Wyoming, along the southwest flank of the Wind River Mountains acquiring single-fold seismic data. They noted reverse dip (northeast) on the last three profiles of one of the lines (Parker, 1985). A year later in 1937, another GSI crew in Pinedale found more evidence of reverse dip on other lines shot in this area. Information from George Evans (2011, personal communication) confirms that CALCO recorded its first seismic dataset in the Pinedale area in 1938 prior to drilling their initial well in the area

During this same time, Texaco had a crew in the area collecting additional single-fold seismic data. This dataset covered the southern portion of the Pinedale anticline and also areas southeast of the anticline (George Evans, 2011, personal communication). No evidence could be found that the Stanolind well drilled in 1949 was located with the use of seismic data; however, given that this well is also located nearly on the crest of the anticline structure, it is likely that seismic data were used.

In the 1950s, other GSI crews acquired more data showing reverse dips near Pinedale, Wyoming, west of the Wind River Mountains, and their concurrent gravity work was enigmatic to them. Parker (1985) noted that this was enigmatic only if one believed that all mountain ranges had dense igneous or metamorphic roots that went straight down below the range as was the commonly held belief at that time.

The first multifold 2-D seismic in the Pinedale area was acquired by El Paso in 1968 to facilitate the mapping of the structure in more detail in advance of site selection for the drilling of the Wagon Wheel #1 well. At the time, El Paso acquired several lines of data covering the field area. These lines provided the basic framework for the early interpretation of the structure.

In the fall of 1976 and fall of 1977, the Consortium for Continental Reflection Profiling (COCORP) shot a multi-fold 2-D line 100 mi (160 km) long from the Green River Basin across the Wind River Mountains at South Pass into the Wind River Basin. This line provided the first clear image of the Wind River thrust plane on the west side of the Wind River Mountains. The data were interpreted to show that the fault dipped to the east, under the Wind River Mountains, at a much shallower angle (average dip ~30–35°) than had previously been postulated, and that the minimum horizontal displacement along the fault was 13 mi (21 km) (Smithson et al., 1978).

Beginning in the 1970s and continuing into the 1980s, numerous companies acquired a grid of regional 2-D seismic covering much of the area of the Pinedale anticline. These datasets, originally shot for Chevron U.S.A., Inc. (Chevron), Gulf Oil Company (Gulf), Texaco, Amoco Production Company (Amoco), Sohio Petroleum Company (Sohio) and others, provided a good database with which to map the area. These efforts added a number of long seismic profiles extending west from the Wind River Mountains across the northern portion of the Green River Basin, providing a better understanding of the nature and structure of the subsurface, reaching from the Wind River Mountains west across the northern portion of the Green River Basin. This extensive 2-D dataset enabled Ultra to map the basic shape and characteristics of the Pinedale anticline as shown in Figure 12, prior to acquiring the 3-D surveys. While there were issues with time ties in making this map, the general form of the structure was visible stretching over 80 km (50 mi) in length and with an east-dipping limb extending nearly all the way to the Wind River thrust front in some areas. A summary of some of the available datasets is presented in Figure 13.

Figure 12.

Form line structural contour map of Pinedale field contoured on the top of the Upper Lance interval based on a combination of seismic data and well control (generated by Kneller in 2000). Well control points are shown in gray, 2-D seismic lines are not shown here but are shown in Figure 13. The approximate locations of the Pinedale and Wind River thrust faults are indicated by the northwest–southeast-trending red lines with red triangles pointing down dip on the thrust plain. Numerous faults associated with Jonah field are shown centered on T29N, R108W. Contour interval is 250 ft (76 m). Towns are highlighted in yellow. Lakes, rivers, and other drainages are light blue.

Figure 12.

Form line structural contour map of Pinedale field contoured on the top of the Upper Lance interval based on a combination of seismic data and well control (generated by Kneller in 2000). Well control points are shown in gray, 2-D seismic lines are not shown here but are shown in Figure 13. The approximate locations of the Pinedale and Wind River thrust faults are indicated by the northwest–southeast-trending red lines with red triangles pointing down dip on the thrust plain. Numerous faults associated with Jonah field are shown centered on T29N, R108W. Contour interval is 250 ft (76 m). Towns are highlighted in yellow. Lakes, rivers, and other drainages are light blue.

Figure 13.

Map of the Pinedale and Jonah fields (red outlines) with the available 2-D seismic data. The seismic lines controlled by Seismic Exchange Inc. are shown in blue; other 2-D seismic data owned or licensed from others by Ultra are shown with green lines. 5 mi (8 km)

Figure 13.

Map of the Pinedale and Jonah fields (red outlines) with the available 2-D seismic data. The seismic lines controlled by Seismic Exchange Inc. are shown in blue; other 2-D seismic data owned or licensed from others by Ultra are shown with green lines. 5 mi (8 km)

The initial 3-D seismic survey in this area was acquired in the mid 1990s for Amoco, covering most of Jonah field. This survey was followed by a second survey acquired for Amoco, the East Jonah Survey, which extended the earlier survey area to the northeast onto the southern portion of the Pinedale anticline, primarily in T29N, R107W (Figure 14).

Figure 14.

Map showing the general outline of Pinedale and Jonah fields (pale red outlines) and the location of the different 3-D seismic surveys covering the area. Ultra, QEP, Anschutz, Lance Oil & Gas, Mesa Survey to north in dark green; Veritas Pinedale Survey in blue; Jebco West Pinedale Survey to west in red; Amoco Jonah Survey to south in purple; Amoco East Jonah Survey in brown; and Forest Oil Yellow Point Survey to south in bright green. 5 mi (8 km)

Figure 14.

Map showing the general outline of Pinedale and Jonah fields (pale red outlines) and the location of the different 3-D seismic surveys covering the area. Ultra, QEP, Anschutz, Lance Oil & Gas, Mesa Survey to north in dark green; Veritas Pinedale Survey in blue; Jebco West Pinedale Survey to west in red; Amoco Jonah Survey to south in purple; Amoco East Jonah Survey in brown; and Forest Oil Yellow Point Survey to south in bright green. 5 mi (8 km)

In 1998, Ultra, Questar (now QEP), the Anschutz Pinedale Corporation (Anschutz), and Western Gas Resources’ Lance Oil & Gas Company subsidiary (Lance O&G) contracted with Western Geophysical to acquire the first full-azimuth, full-offset 3-D survey in the Pinedale area. This survey, covering the Mesa area in T32 and 33N, R109W, provided the best view to date of the overall nature of the structure, stratigraphy, and internal organization of the Lance reservoir section. Shortly after the completion of the Mesa Survey, Veritas (now CGGVeritas) commenced acquisition of a speculative (spec) survey, also with full-azimuth and full offset, covering that portion of the field between the Mesa Survey on the north and Amoco’s East Jonah Survey to the south. In 1999, the final portion of the extensive 3-D dataset covering the field, the Jebco Seismic L.P.’s West Pinedale Survey, was shot as a speculative seismic survey. This survey extended from the existing surveys west approximately 6 mi (10 km). The combination of this group of seismic surveys covering about 400 mi2 (1000 km2) provided a very good picture of the entire Pinedale field and the surrounding boundary areas (Figure 14).

In addition to the geophysical efforts discussed above, many other techniques have been used to assist in understanding this area. These include older regional aeromagnetic and gravity surveys as well as newer high-resolution aeromagnetic work and well-bore vertical seismic profiles (VSPs), including a group of nine-component (9C) VSPs that were acquired by Ultra to help gain a better understanding of the nature of the fracture patterns thought to be present in the Lance reservoir section.

To assist in evaluating the effectiveness of the hydraulic fracturing efforts being used to make this gas resource economically viable, several operators have used microfracture monitoring techniques to map the direction and reach of the hydraulic fracturing efforts. These microfracture surveys also included some cross-well tomographic mapping and multi-well monitoring in an effort to better triangulate the location of seismic micro events thus improving the overall results of the fracture mapping (Chapter 5, this volume).

Leasehold Ownership

Much of the leasehold ownership information that follows is derived from the files and records at Ultra as well as the summaries prepared by Ultra, Questar, and Shell. Additional ownership information can be gleaned from a number of the different WOGCC dockets that have been heard covering all or parts of the Pinedale field.

The majority of the land in the Pinedale field is public land administered by the BLM along with several sections of State of Wyoming–owned lands (typically sections 16 and 36) in each township. There are also some fee ownership lands primarily on the northeast field edge in the area of the town of Pinedale as well as a swath of lands along the New Fork River, where the river cuts across the axis of the anticline. Many of the leases on BLM lands being developed today trace their ownership back to the 1950s and the initial owners El Paso, Continental, and Malco. The chain of title from these early owners to the current owners is somewhat convoluted, with many transactions involving the passing of partial or total interests.

In general, most of the BLM-administered lands were leased in the mid 1950s by the partnership of El Paso, Continental, and Malco. Continental passed ownership of its interests to El Paso in October 1964. The El Paso lease interests were passed through Meridian Oil to Burlington Resources (Burlington). Malco’s properties passed to Hondo Oil and Gas Company (Hondo) in 1970, which was then merged into Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) in 1987. In 1993 McMurray purchased the ARCO interests, consisting of a 25% working interest in 17,808 acres (4482 net acres), at auction for $1.00/acre (Edward Warner, personal communication). Subsequent to this acquisition, McMurray entered into a farm-in agreement with Burlington on a 160-acre checkerboard of the area within the old New Fork Participating Area “B”. McMurray had as its partners in this venture Nerd Energy (Nerd), Fort Collins Royalty Trust (Fort Collins) and Edward Warner (Warner). This lease ownership would ultimately pass separately to other parties.

In 1963 Mountain Fuel earned an interest in the El Paso–owned leases in the northern part of the field by drilling the Pinedale #8 well. This leasehold interest covered parts of T32 and 33N, R109W, the portions of the field now known as Mesa and Stewart Point. El Paso retained an interest in these leases, which was later sold to Ultra as discussed below. This Mountain Fuel leasehold passed through a series of corporate transactions in part to Wexpro, with other parts to Celsius, Questar Market Resources, and now to QEP.

In 1983 El Paso entered into a farm-out agreement with American Hunter for much of the leasehold in the area south of the farm-out to Mountain Fuel Supply. This farm-out covered all or part of T31N, R108 and 109W, and T30N, R108W. This farm-out interest went to Northwest Production in 1984, which merged with Williams Field Services in 1985. This interest then reverted back to Meridian Oil as successor to El Paso on these lands in 1986. From this point the ownership trail followed the same trail as the other old El Paso interests through the name change to Burlington and ultimately through the sale to Ultra in 1997.

In 1996 Ultra purchased the leasehold interest from CNG covering parts of the anticline around the older El Paso leasehold. In 1997 Ultra was able to purchase from Burlington all their remaining interests in the Pinedale field area. This included partial interest in lands operated by Celsius Energy that were held by The Mesa Federal Exploratory Unit in the northern part of the field as previously discussed. This purchase included those portions of the New Fork Unit Participating Area (PA) “B” that were not part of the McMurry farm-out as well as partial interest in the McMurry operated lands and interest in the deeper section below the earned depth. The lands held by the New Fork Unit, PA “A”, the leasehold interests outside the PA’s were included in the purchase along with the wells that El Paso had drilled but not plugged and abandoned at the time of the sale.

In the southernmost part of the field, T29N, R107W, the ownership picture is less clear. Much of the leasehold in this area currently consists of a checkerboard of 160-acre quarter sections between BP America Incorporated (BP) as successor to Amoco and Shell Rocky Mountain Production LLC (Shell). Beyond this there are several other companies with smaller ownership positions.

In 1997 Ultra took a farm-out from Celsius Energy on the lands in the northern part of the field and began drilling the first of a series of six obligation wells to earn interest in these lands in addition to the interest Ultra already owned from the Burlington purchase. Ultra also entered into an agreement with Western Gas Resources and their Lance O&G for a partial interest in all of Ultra’s lands in the area. This Lance O&G interest would ultimately pass by acquisition through Kerr McGee Corporation to Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (Anadarko), the current owner.

In 1999 Ultra sold part interest in its acreage in the northern part of the field. Anschutz acquired an interest in the acreage outside of the lands Ultra had acquired on the farm-in from Celsius. Questar, as successor to Celsius, exercised a preferential right to purchase and bought an interest back from Ultra in the farm-out acreage in the Mesa and Stewart Point areas, increasing its working interest and taking over operatorship of this portion of the field, which it has maintained to this day as QEP Resources.

McMurray transferred ownership of its acreage in the Pinedale area to McMurry Energy Company (MEC) with the sale of its interest in Jonah field to Alberta Energy Company, Ltd. (AEC). In 2000 the MEC interest in Pinedale, as well as the Nerd interest, was sold to Shell. Later in 2002 some remaining MEC interests as well as the Fort Collins interests were also sold to Shell. Warner sold his interests that came out of this group to Williams in 2000. In 2008 SRMP was merged into SWEPI LP (Shell), as owner of record for all lands owned by Shell affiliates (Mark Pippinm, 2011, personal communication). In 2014, Ultra closed a transaction with Shell by which Ultra now has ownership of all the Shell interests in the Pinedale area.

In 2005 Anschutz sold part of its interest to Southern California Public Power Authority. Other companies that have acquired small interests in the field include Arrowhead Resources (USA) Ltd., Double Eagle Petroleum Company, Fossil Associates, McLish Petroleum Corporation, Rosetta Resources Inc., and Wind River Energy.

At the present time the dominant lease owners and operators in Pinedale field are Ultra, QEP Resources, Wexpro, and BP. Unfortunately, due to the size of the area and the complexity of the leasehold ownership, it is not possible to present a map in this paper showing present lease ownership. The WOGCC has an ownership map in their files from WOGCC Docket 136-2003 that shows the ownership of the principal lands at that time, but this map is not in digital form and could not be included here.

Reserves and Production

The earliest publicly available estimate of the reserve potential for Pinedale field was estimated at 159 tcf of original gas in place (OGIP) (Charpentier et al, 1989). It should be noted that this estimate was covering an area much larger than the currently accepted area of the field. It also covered the entire overpressured interval including not only the sections that make up the Lance Pool but also the underlying section down into the Hilliard Formation. In looking at his allocation of OGIP by formation his number for the Lance Formation of 62 TCF (Charpentier et al., 1989, Table 2) is not too far out of line with current estimates even though his area of 197 mi2 (510 km2) is significantly larger than the currently estimated field size of 80 mi2 (207 km2) (Chapter 4). Starting in 1999, Netherland Sewell and Associates, Inc. (NSAI) began to conduct field-wide reserves studies for several of the owners in the field including Ultra, Lance O&G, and Arrowhead. NSAI was also evaluating the Jonah field reserves for Alberta Energy (now EnCana) as well as Ultra and Western Gas. From this dataset, NSAI did annual reserve estimates for the productive Pinedale field area.

After conducting these reserves estimates for several years, a program was put in place to gather additional data on the reservoir rocks and field parameters to estimate both OGIP and estimated ultimate recoverable (EUR) reserves. At year-end 2010 the estimate for OGIP for the field was 57.07 tcf with an EUR of 39.643 tcf (WOGCC Docket 42, 43, and 44-2011, February 8, 2011, Ultra Resources, Inc.).

The early production history on Pinedale is spotty at best. The first recorded production was from the Mesa Unit #1 (Sec. 7, T32N, R109W) and the Mesa Unit #2 (Sec. 16, T32N, R109W), both of which, as described earlier, were produced into trucks before a pipeline was built.

In 1983 Williams Field Services laid a 6 5/8 in (16.8 cm) line from the Gobblers Knob area on the Pinedale anticline to connect with Northwest Pipeline at a point south and west of Dry Piney, Wyoming. This connected to the El Paso/Mountain Fuel gathering system (Figure 8) and permitted not only the wells referenced above but several other wells that had been drilled, including the American Hunter New Fork #1 (Sec. 25, T30N, R108W) and the Leonard Hay Jensen #1 and #2 (Sec. 11, T31N, R109W), to be produced on a more regular basis (Greenfield, 1982b).

In 1992, in an effort to produce its new wells at Jonah field, McMurry connected a line from the Jonah area to the south end of the Williams system (Robinson, 2004). This connection later served to permit production back through Jonah field from Pinedale when McMurray completed a line from the Jonah field southwest to the Williams, Opal gas processing plant. Later, lines would be laid from Pinedale to the Questar Blacks Fork plant, as well as Western Gas Resources’ Granger Plant. Over the years, these plants and pipelines have been steadily upgraded to handle the growing production from both Pinedale and Jonah fields. At present there is in excess of 2.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas per day flowing from these two fields to the interconnects in the Opal, Wyoming, area. The WOGCC Web site has downloadable production data and other field information for the Pinedale field (Figure 15).

Figure 15.

Monthly and cumulative production through December 2012 showing the cumulative oil, gas, and water production for the Pinedale field. Cumulative production figures are provided at lower right. Data from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission website compiled by Codie Kretzer, QEP Resources. Note that monthly production has leveled off due to reduction in drilling activity by major operators in response to current low gas prices.

Figure 15.

Monthly and cumulative production through December 2012 showing the cumulative oil, gas, and water production for the Pinedale field. Cumulative production figures are provided at lower right. Data from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission website compiled by Codie Kretzer, QEP Resources. Note that monthly production has leveled off due to reduction in drilling activity by major operators in response to current low gas prices.

Conclusion

With an ongoing history of exploration and development now stretching over 70 years, the Pinedale field has been the focus of efforts by numerous companies and people. The culmination of the work by all these people was the accumulated knowledge of the nature of the field and potential reservoir rocks that, when combined with the evolving drilling and completion techniques, resulted in the successful commercial development of Pinedale field. Many small steps were made along the way that enhanced the understanding of the field. There were also many other occasions that the lack of ability to move the project forward, for a variety of reasons, cost companies the opportunity to participate in the development of this world-class natural gas resource.

As so often is the case in exploration for unconventional reservoirs, it is not the first company that finds a field that benefits the most. Instead, it is those willing to think outside the box or to take the inherent risks and commit the capital necessary to move the prospect forward. In the case of Pinedale field, many large companies helped define the anticlinal structure but did not succeed in commercial development of the field. In the end it was the smaller independent companies such as Mountain Fuel Supply, American Hunter, McMurry, and Ultra that came up with the creative ideas to test the wells, preserve the leasehold, and ultimately successfully apply the evolving drilling and completions techniques that brought this large potential resource to commercial production.

At the current rate of development, drilling activities in Pinedale field will continue for at least the next 20 years. Pinedale field has also proved to be an excellent training ground for efforts to develop new insights and new techniques to develop other tight-gas sandstone reservoirs worldwide. Drilling and completion practices as well as reservoir evaluation techniques developed for Pinedale field should have applications in many other areas. The authors expect that the methods used in the development of the natural gas resources at Pinedale will be used throughout the natural gas industry and that these techniques will open many other areas for commercial production worldwide.

In the exploration equation, the guts and willingness to commit the money to the project are equally as important as the initial geologic concept for the prospect in the American capitalistic system. (Riggs, 2011, personal communication)

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McDermott
,
R. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
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,
M. W.
,
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, Geology of the Lance Pool, Pinedale field, in
Longman
,
M. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Meyer
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Chapin
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, eds.,
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116
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,
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, Seismic exploration in the Rocky Mountains—Some reflections: in
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,
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,
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, eds.,
Seismic exploration of the Rocky Mountain region
 ,
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:
Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
, p.
5
12
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,
R. M.
,
1989
, Mineral composition, petrography, and diagenetic modifications of lower Tertiary and upper Cretaceous sandstones and shales, northern Green River Basin, Wyoming: in
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,
B.E.
Spencer
,
C. W.
, eds., Geology of tight gas reservoirs in the Pinedale anticline area, Wyoming, and at the Multiwell Experiment Site,
Colorado
:
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, Chapter D,
40
p.
Robinson
,
J. W.
,
2004
, Discovery of Jonah field, Sublette County, Wyoming: in
Robinson
,
J.W.
Shanley
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Sansone
,
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Brown
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T.
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Kaufman
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Oliver
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Hurich
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,
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 , p.
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234
.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA),
2009
,
U. S. crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids reserves, top 100 oil and gas fields of 2009
,
Washington, DC
:
U.S. Department of Energy
.
WOGCC well records, well cards, well files and well logs at the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Office
, Casper, Wyoming.
Wyoming Geological Association (no author specified), in 1957 Wyoming Oil and Gas Fields Symposium
, p. 347.

References

Albertus
,
R. G.
Goodman
,
S.
,
1999
, Two industries join together to voluntarily reduce NOx emissions (SPE#52675-MS abs),
SPE/EPA Exploration and Production Environmental Conference, 1–3 March
 ,
Austin, Texas
.
Chapin
,
M. A.
Govert
,
A.
Brandon
,
N.
Ugueto
,
G.
,
2014
, Sedimentology and reservoir characterization of the Upper Cretaceous Lance and Upper Meseverde intervals from core data in Pinedale field, in
Longman
,
M. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Meyer
,
T. S.
Chapin
,
M. A.
, eds.,
Pinedale field: Case study of a giant tight gas sandstone reservoir: AAPG Memoir 107
 , p.
175
246
.
Charpentier
,
R. R.
Law
,
B.E.
Prensky
,
S.E.
,
1989
,
Quantitative model for overpressured gas resources of the Pinedale anticline
,
Wyoming: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1886
 , Chapter I,
13
p.
Dragoset
,
B.
,
2005
,
A historical reflection on reflections
,
The Leading Edge
 , v.
24
, no. supplement, p.
s46
s71
.
Flack
,
D.
Shaw
,
J.
Martin
,
J.
Oriet
,
J.
Koenen
,
C.
,
1997
, Modified drilling and completion procedures enhance recovery in southwest Wyoming field (SPE 38344-MS, abs),
SPE Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting
 , 18–21 May 1997,
Casper, Wyoming
.
Greenfield
,
H.
,
1981
, Resource evaluation and production research on tight sands in the Pinedale Unit, Sublette County, Wyoming:
prepared for Gas Research Institute Contract No. 5080-321—0328
,
197
p.
Greenfield
,
H.
,
1982a
, Unconventional natural gas from tight sands in the Pinedale Unit, Sublette County, Wyoming, Quarterly Report No. 6,
Prepared for the U. S. Department of Energy Contract No. DE-FG01-80RA50394
 ,
Salt Lake City, Utah
:
Mountain Fuel Supply Company
,
40
p.
Greenfield
,
H.
,
1982b
, Unconventional natural gas from tight sands in the Pinedale Unit, Sublette County, Wyoming, Quarterly Report No. 7,
Prepared for the U. S. Department of Energy Contract No. DE-FG01-80RA50394
 ,
Salt Lake City, Utah
:
Mountain Fuel Supply Company
,
54
p.
Jenkins
,
C. E.
,
1955
,
Pinedale anticline, Sublette County, Wyoming, Wyoming Geological Association Guidebook
,
Tenth Annual Field Conference Green River Basin
 , pp.
155
156
.
Law
,
B. E.
,
1979
, Section B-B′, Subsurface and surface correlations of some upper Cretaceous and Tertiary rocks, northern Green River Basin,
Wyoming
,
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 79-1689
, 2 sheets.
Law
,
B. E.
,
1984
, Relationships of source rocks, thermal maturity, and overpressuring to gas generation and occurrence in low-permeability upper Cretaceous and lower Tertiary rocks, Greater Green River Basin, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah: in
Woodward
,
J.
Meissner
,
F.F.
Clayton
,
J. L.
, eds.,
Hydrocarbon source rocks of the greater Rocky Mountain region
 ,
Denver CO
:
Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
, p.
469
490
.
Law
,
B. E.
Johnson
,
R.C.
,
1989
, Structural and stratigraphic framework of the Pinedale anticline, Wyoming, and the Multiwell Experiment site, Colorado: in
Law
,
B.E.
Spencer
,
C.W.
, eds.,
Geology of tight gas reservoirs in the Pinedale anticline area Wyoming, and at the Multiwell Experiment Site
 ,
Colorado
:
U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1886
, p.
B1
11
.
Law
,
B. E.
Spencer
,
C.W.
, eds.,
1989
, Geology of tight gas reservoirs in the Pinedale anticline area, Wyoming, and the Multiwell Experiment Site,
Colorado
:
U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1886
,
125
p.
Law
,
B. E.
Spencer
,
C. W.
,
2014
, The Pinedale Gas field: A sweet spot in a regionally pervasive basin-centered gas accumulation, Green River and Hoback Basins, Wyoming, in
Longman
,
M. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Meyer
,
T. S.
Chapin
,
M. A.
, eds.,
Pinedale field: Case study of a giant tight gas sandstone reservoir: AAPG Memoir 107
 , p.
37
60
.
Longman
,
M. W.
Foley
,
D. E.
Scoville
,
J. M.
,
2014
, Results of deep drilling on the Pinedale anticline, in
Longman
,
M. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Meyer
,
T. S.
Chapin
,
M. A.
, eds.,
Pinedale field: Case study of a giant tight gas sandstone reservoir: AAPG Memoir 107
 , p.
273
320
.
Masters
,
J. A.
, ed.,
1984
, Elmworth: Case study of a deep basin gas field: AAPG Memoir 38,
Tulsa, Okla
,
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
,
316
p.
Matheny
,
M. L.
,
1979
,
Pinedale: in 1979 Greater Green River Basin Oil and Gas Fields Symposium, Wyoming Geological Society
, p.
282
283
.
Meyer
,
T. S.
McDermott
,
R. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Longman
,
M. W.
,
2014
, Geology of the Lance Pool, Pinedale field, in
Longman
,
M. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Meyer
,
T. S.
Chapin
,
M. A.
, eds.,
Pinedale field: Case study of a giant tight gas sandstone reservoir: AAPG Memoir 107
 , p.
61
116
.
Mountain Fuel Supply Company
,
1982
,
Development of advanced well completion techniques, Technical Proposal to Gas Research Institute-Part 1
.
Parker
,
J. M.
,
1985
, Seismic exploration in the Rocky Mountains—Some reflections: in
Gries
,
R. R.
Dyer
,
R. C.
, eds.,
Seismic exploration of the Rocky Mountain region
 ,
Denver, CO
:
Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
, p.
5
12
.
Pollastro
,
R. M.
,
1989
, Mineral composition, petrography, and diagenetic modifications of lower Tertiary and upper Cretaceous sandstones and shales, northern Green River Basin, Wyoming: in
Law
,
B.E.
Spencer
,
C. W.
, eds., Geology of tight gas reservoirs in the Pinedale anticline area, Wyoming, and at the Multiwell Experiment Site,
Colorado
:
U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1886
, Chapter D,
40
p.
Robinson
,
J. W.
,
2004
, Discovery of Jonah field, Sublette County, Wyoming: in
Robinson
,
J.W.
Shanley
,
K.W.
, eds.,
Jonah field: Case study of a tight-gas fluvial reservoir: AAPG Studies in Geology 52 and Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists 2004 Guidebook
 , pp.
9
20
.
Sansone
,
S.
Brown
,
T.
,
1992
,
Pinedale: in Greater Green River Basin and Wyoming Thrust Belt Oil and Gas Fields Symposium update
, p.
257
Smithson
,
S. B.
Brewer
,
J.
Kaufman
,
S.
Oliver
,
J.
Hurich
,
C.
,
1978
,
Question of the Wind River Thrust, Wyoming, resolved by COCORP deep reflection data and by gravity data, Thirtieth Annual Field Conference Guidebook
 , p.
227
234
.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA),
2009
,
U. S. crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids reserves, top 100 oil and gas fields of 2009
,
Washington, DC
:
U.S. Department of Energy
.
WOGCC well records, well cards, well files and well logs at the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Office
, Casper, Wyoming.
Wyoming Geological Association (no author specified), in 1957 Wyoming Oil and Gas Fields Symposium
, p. 347.

Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments

The authors express their gratitude to the following people for their efforts in assisting us to make this chapter possible: Mark Longman, Thomas Meyer, Codie Kretzer, Ben Law, and Ed Dolly all reviewed earlier drafts of this manuscript and provided ideas and input. Ed Warner, George Evans, and Marvin Matheny also provided input on various historical aspects of the field. Codie Kretzer (QEP Resources) greatly assisted in providing the final versions of the figures used in this paper. Sarah Gach and Troy Graham also provided some of the other figures from Ultra’s files. Thanks also to Bill Picquet for approval to access files at Ultra and to Tab McGinley for access to the leasehold ownership information. Steven Kloppel at Seismic Exchange Incorporated gave permission to publish their line location map (Figure 13). Perhaps most importantly, a special thanks to all the geologists, geophysicists, engineers, land professionals, and other workers who came before us on this project and helped to make the commercial development of the Pinedale field a reality.

The authors express their gratitude to the following people for their efforts in assisting us to make this chapter possible: Mark Longman, Thomas Meyer, Codie Kretzer, Ben Law, and Ed Dolly all reviewed earlier drafts of this manuscript and provided ideas and input. Ed Warner, George Evans, and Marvin Matheny also provided input on various historical aspects of the field. Codie Kretzer (QEP Resources) greatly assisted in providing the final versions of the figures used in this paper. Sarah Gach and Troy Graham also provided some of the other figures from Ultra’s files. Thanks also to Bill Picquet for approval to access files at Ultra and to Tab McGinley for access to the leasehold ownership information. Steven Kloppel at Seismic Exchange Incorporated gave permission to publish their line location map (Figure 13). Perhaps most importantly, a special thanks to all the geologists, geophysicists, engineers, land professionals, and other workers who came before us on this project and helped to make the commercial development of the Pinedale field a reality.

Figures & Tables

List of the early wells drilled on the Pinedale anticline. Locations of these wells are shown in Figure 4.

Table 1.
List of the early wells drilled on the Pinedale anticline. Locations of these wells are shown in Figure 4.
Ref #API NumberOperatorWell Name & NumberCompletion DateLocation all 6th PM
GOVT149-035-06193The California Co.Gov’t. 1April 19, 1940SW NE, S14, T31N, R109W
SPU149-035-60006Stanolind O&G Co.Pinedale Unit 1March 29, 1949NW SE, S17, T33N, R109W
PD149-035-07120El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 1February 10, 1955NE SE, S9, T30N, R108W
PD249-035-07124El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 2January 5, 1956SE1/4, S29, T31N, R108W
PD349-035-07125El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 3January 5, 1956C NW1/4, S13, T31N, R109W
PD449-035-07126El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 4January 30, 1956C NW1/4, S34, T32N, R109W
PD549-035-08024El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 5September 10, 1956C SE1/4, S5, T30N, R108W
PD649-035-07017El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 6May 15, 1957SE NW, S21, T30N, R108W
PD749-035-06167El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 7December 12, 1960SE NE, S15, T30N, R108W
TB149-035-06378Texaco E&P1 Tabernacle ButteMarch 4, 1963NE SW, S25, T29N, R107W
PD849-035-06381Mtn. Fuel SupplyPinedale 8January 6, 1964NE SW, S20, T33N, R109W
WW149-035-20124El Paso Nat. GasWagon Wheel 1August 1, 1971SE NW, S5, T30N, R108W
Ref #API NumberOperatorWell Name & NumberCompletion DateLocation all 6th PM
GOVT149-035-06193The California Co.Gov’t. 1April 19, 1940SW NE, S14, T31N, R109W
SPU149-035-60006Stanolind O&G Co.Pinedale Unit 1March 29, 1949NW SE, S17, T33N, R109W
PD149-035-07120El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 1February 10, 1955NE SE, S9, T30N, R108W
PD249-035-07124El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 2January 5, 1956SE1/4, S29, T31N, R108W
PD349-035-07125El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 3January 5, 1956C NW1/4, S13, T31N, R109W
PD449-035-07126El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 4January 30, 1956C NW1/4, S34, T32N, R109W
PD549-035-08024El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 5September 10, 1956C SE1/4, S5, T30N, R108W
PD649-035-07017El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 6May 15, 1957SE NW, S21, T30N, R108W
PD749-035-06167El Paso Nat. GasPinedale 7December 12, 1960SE NE, S15, T30N, R108W
TB149-035-06378Texaco E&P1 Tabernacle ButteMarch 4, 1963NE SW, S25, T29N, R107W
PD849-035-06381Mtn. Fuel SupplyPinedale 8January 6, 1964NE SW, S20, T33N, R109W
WW149-035-20124El Paso Nat. GasWagon Wheel 1August 1, 1971SE NW, S5, T30N, R108W

Phase III: The 1980’s through establishment of commercial production in early 1998. Locations of these wells are shown in Figure 5.

Table 2.
Phase III: The 1980’s through establishment of commercial production in early 1998. Locations of these wells are shown in Figure 5.
Ref #API NumberOperatorWell Name & NumberCompletion DateLocation all 6th PM
MS149-035-20589WexproThe Mesa Unit 1August 15, 1981NE NE, S7, T32N, R109W
JSN149-035-20606Leonard HayJensen 1December 1, 1981SW NW, S11, T31N, R109W
MS249-035-20620WexproThe Mesa Unit 2June 22, 1981SE NW, S16, T32N, R109W
NF149-035-20671American HunterNew Fork 1July 10, 1981SW NE, S25, T30N, R108W
NF249-035-60028American HunterNew Fork 2July 8, 1981SW NE, S2, T30N, R108W
NF449-035-20656American HunterNew Fork 4July 24, 1984NW SE, S35, T31N, R109W
BF21-3449-035-02661Black Coal Res.Baumgartner Fed 21-34December 12, 1981NE NW, S24, T33N, R110W
JSN249-035-20748Leonard HayJensen 2August 10, 1983SE SE, S11, T31N, R109W
NF11-849-035-21328Meridian Oil, Inc.New Fork Fed 11-8November 10, 1994NW NW, S8, T30N, R108W
VBl149-035-21362Sheffield Expl. Co.Vible #1February 20, 1995SE NE, S11, T31N, R109W
MS22-249-035-21494Alpine GasMesa 22-2December 11, 1996SE NW, S2, T31N, R110W
PD1-1449-035-21512McMurry Oil Co.Pinedale 1-14March 1, 1997NE NE, S14, T31N, R109W
NF13-1049-035-21646McMurry Oil Co.New Fork 13-10May 4, 1998SW SW, S10, T30N, R108W
MS15-849-035-21680Ultra PetroleumMesa 15-8January 4, 1998SW SE, S8, T32N, R109W
Ref #API NumberOperatorWell Name & NumberCompletion DateLocation all 6th PM
MS149-035-20589WexproThe Mesa Unit 1August 15, 1981NE NE, S7, T32N, R109W
JSN149-035-20606Leonard HayJensen 1December 1, 1981SW NW, S11, T31N, R109W
MS249-035-20620WexproThe Mesa Unit 2June 22, 1981SE NW, S16, T32N, R109W
NF149-035-20671American HunterNew Fork 1July 10, 1981SW NE, S25, T30N, R108W
NF249-035-60028American HunterNew Fork 2July 8, 1981SW NE, S2, T30N, R108W
NF449-035-20656American HunterNew Fork 4July 24, 1984NW SE, S35, T31N, R109W
BF21-3449-035-02661Black Coal Res.Baumgartner Fed 21-34December 12, 1981NE NW, S24, T33N, R110W
JSN249-035-20748Leonard HayJensen 2August 10, 1983SE SE, S11, T31N, R109W
NF11-849-035-21328Meridian Oil, Inc.New Fork Fed 11-8November 10, 1994NW NW, S8, T30N, R108W
VBl149-035-21362Sheffield Expl. Co.Vible #1February 20, 1995SE NE, S11, T31N, R109W
MS22-249-035-21494Alpine GasMesa 22-2December 11, 1996SE NW, S2, T31N, R110W
PD1-1449-035-21512McMurry Oil Co.Pinedale 1-14March 1, 1997NE NE, S14, T31N, R109W
NF13-1049-035-21646McMurry Oil Co.New Fork 13-10May 4, 1998SW SW, S10, T30N, R108W
MS15-849-035-21680Ultra PetroleumMesa 15-8January 4, 1998SW SE, S8, T32N, R109W

Wexpro Mesa Unit #1 long-term production test results after initial completion in 1983.

Table 3.
Wexpro Mesa Unit #1 long-term production test results after initial completion in 1983.
MonthCondensate (bbls)Gas (mcf)Days ProducedCondensate GravityNotes
Mar-83023,45831Begin flow test
Apr-83019,39930
May-833624,1551053
Jun-8319121,2152960
Jul-8316622,2263151
Aug-8308,46212Begin shut-in for pressure build up
Sep-8300
Oct-8300
Nov-8300
Dec-8300End pressure build up test
MonthCondensate (bbls)Gas (mcf)Days ProducedCondensate GravityNotes
Mar-83023,45831Begin flow test
Apr-83019,39930
May-833624,1551053
Jun-8319121,2152960
Jul-8316622,2263151
Aug-8308,46212Begin shut-in for pressure build up
Sep-8300
Oct-8300
Nov-8300
Dec-8300End pressure build up test

Wexpro Mesa Unit #2 long-term production test results after initial completion during 1983.

Table 4.
Wexpro Mesa Unit #2 long-term production test results after initial completion during 1983.
MonthCondensate (bbls)Gas (mcf)Days ProducedCondensate GravityNotes
Mar-83011,46731Begin flow test
Apr-83010,52830
May-8307,74631
Jun-838511,0023049
Jul-83011,45331
Aug-8304,90712Begin shut-in for pressure build up
Sep-8300
Oct-8300
Nov-8300
Dec-8300End pressure build up test
MonthCondensate (bbls)Gas (mcf)Days ProducedCondensate GravityNotes
Mar-83011,46731Begin flow test
Apr-83010,52830
May-8307,74631
Jun-838511,0023049
Jul-83011,45331
Aug-8304,90712Begin shut-in for pressure build up
Sep-8300
Oct-8300
Nov-8300
Dec-8300End pressure build up test

Contents

GeoRef

References

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60
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McDermott
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Kneller
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S. R.
Meyer
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T. S.
Chapin
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J. M.
,
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R. R.
Dyer
,
R. C.
, eds.,
Seismic exploration of the Rocky Mountain region
 ,
Denver, CO
:
Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
, p.
5
12
.
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,
R. M.
,
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, Mineral composition, petrography, and diagenetic modifications of lower Tertiary and upper Cretaceous sandstones and shales, northern Green River Basin, Wyoming: in
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,
B.E.
Spencer
,
C. W.
, eds., Geology of tight gas reservoirs in the Pinedale anticline area, Wyoming, and at the Multiwell Experiment Site,
Colorado
:
U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1886
, Chapter D,
40
p.
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,
J. W.
,
2004
, Discovery of Jonah field, Sublette County, Wyoming: in
Robinson
,
J.W.
Shanley
,
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, eds.,
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20
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,
S.
Brown
,
T.
,
1992
,
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,
S. B.
Brewer
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S.
Oliver
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J.
Hurich
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C.
,
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234
.
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U. S. crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids reserves, top 100 oil and gas fields of 2009
,
Washington, DC
:
U.S. Department of Energy
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, Casper, Wyoming.
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References

Albertus
,
R. G.
Goodman
,
S.
,
1999
, Two industries join together to voluntarily reduce NOx emissions (SPE#52675-MS abs),
SPE/EPA Exploration and Production Environmental Conference, 1–3 March
 ,
Austin, Texas
.
Chapin
,
M. A.
Govert
,
A.
Brandon
,
N.
Ugueto
,
G.
,
2014
, Sedimentology and reservoir characterization of the Upper Cretaceous Lance and Upper Meseverde intervals from core data in Pinedale field, in
Longman
,
M. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Meyer
,
T. S.
Chapin
,
M. A.
, eds.,
Pinedale field: Case study of a giant tight gas sandstone reservoir: AAPG Memoir 107
 , p.
175
246
.
Charpentier
,
R. R.
Law
,
B.E.
Prensky
,
S.E.
,
1989
,
Quantitative model for overpressured gas resources of the Pinedale anticline
,
Wyoming: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1886
 , Chapter I,
13
p.
Dragoset
,
B.
,
2005
,
A historical reflection on reflections
,
The Leading Edge
 , v.
24
, no. supplement, p.
s46
s71
.
Flack
,
D.
Shaw
,
J.
Martin
,
J.
Oriet
,
J.
Koenen
,
C.
,
1997
, Modified drilling and completion procedures enhance recovery in southwest Wyoming field (SPE 38344-MS, abs),
SPE Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting
 , 18–21 May 1997,
Casper, Wyoming
.
Greenfield
,
H.
,
1981
, Resource evaluation and production research on tight sands in the Pinedale Unit, Sublette County, Wyoming:
prepared for Gas Research Institute Contract No. 5080-321—0328
,
197
p.
Greenfield
,
H.
,
1982a
, Unconventional natural gas from tight sands in the Pinedale Unit, Sublette County, Wyoming, Quarterly Report No. 6,
Prepared for the U. S. Department of Energy Contract No. DE-FG01-80RA50394
 ,
Salt Lake City, Utah
:
Mountain Fuel Supply Company
,
40
p.
Greenfield
,
H.
,
1982b
, Unconventional natural gas from tight sands in the Pinedale Unit, Sublette County, Wyoming, Quarterly Report No. 7,
Prepared for the U. S. Department of Energy Contract No. DE-FG01-80RA50394
 ,
Salt Lake City, Utah
:
Mountain Fuel Supply Company
,
54
p.
Jenkins
,
C. E.
,
1955
,
Pinedale anticline, Sublette County, Wyoming, Wyoming Geological Association Guidebook
,
Tenth Annual Field Conference Green River Basin
 , pp.
155
156
.
Law
,
B. E.
,
1979
, Section B-B′, Subsurface and surface correlations of some upper Cretaceous and Tertiary rocks, northern Green River Basin,
Wyoming
,
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 79-1689
, 2 sheets.
Law
,
B. E.
,
1984
, Relationships of source rocks, thermal maturity, and overpressuring to gas generation and occurrence in low-permeability upper Cretaceous and lower Tertiary rocks, Greater Green River Basin, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah: in
Woodward
,
J.
Meissner
,
F.F.
Clayton
,
J. L.
, eds.,
Hydrocarbon source rocks of the greater Rocky Mountain region
 ,
Denver CO
:
Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
, p.
469
490
.
Law
,
B. E.
Johnson
,
R.C.
,
1989
, Structural and stratigraphic framework of the Pinedale anticline, Wyoming, and the Multiwell Experiment site, Colorado: in
Law
,
B.E.
Spencer
,
C.W.
, eds.,
Geology of tight gas reservoirs in the Pinedale anticline area Wyoming, and at the Multiwell Experiment Site
 ,
Colorado
:
U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1886
, p.
B1
11
.
Law
,
B. E.
Spencer
,
C.W.
, eds.,
1989
, Geology of tight gas reservoirs in the Pinedale anticline area, Wyoming, and the Multiwell Experiment Site,
Colorado
:
U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1886
,
125
p.
Law
,
B. E.
Spencer
,
C. W.
,
2014
, The Pinedale Gas field: A sweet spot in a regionally pervasive basin-centered gas accumulation, Green River and Hoback Basins, Wyoming, in
Longman
,
M. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Meyer
,
T. S.
Chapin
,
M. A.
, eds.,
Pinedale field: Case study of a giant tight gas sandstone reservoir: AAPG Memoir 107
 , p.
37
60
.
Longman
,
M. W.
Foley
,
D. E.
Scoville
,
J. M.
,
2014
, Results of deep drilling on the Pinedale anticline, in
Longman
,
M. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Meyer
,
T. S.
Chapin
,
M. A.
, eds.,
Pinedale field: Case study of a giant tight gas sandstone reservoir: AAPG Memoir 107
 , p.
273
320
.
Masters
,
J. A.
, ed.,
1984
, Elmworth: Case study of a deep basin gas field: AAPG Memoir 38,
Tulsa, Okla
,
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
,
316
p.
Matheny
,
M. L.
,
1979
,
Pinedale: in 1979 Greater Green River Basin Oil and Gas Fields Symposium, Wyoming Geological Society
, p.
282
283
.
Meyer
,
T. S.
McDermott
,
R. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Longman
,
M. W.
,
2014
, Geology of the Lance Pool, Pinedale field, in
Longman
,
M. W.
Kneller
,
S. R.
Meyer
,
T. S.
Chapin
,
M. A.
, eds.,
Pinedale field: Case study of a giant tight gas sandstone reservoir: AAPG Memoir 107
 , p.
61
116
.
Mountain Fuel Supply Company
,
1982
,
Development of advanced well completion techniques, Technical Proposal to Gas Research Institute-Part 1
.
Parker
,
J. M.
,
1985
, Seismic exploration in the Rocky Mountains—Some reflections: in
Gries
,
R. R.
Dyer
,
R. C.
, eds.,
Seismic exploration of the Rocky Mountain region
 ,
Denver, CO
:
Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
, p.
5
12
.
Pollastro
,
R. M.
,
1989
, Mineral composition, petrography, and diagenetic modifications of lower Tertiary and upper Cretaceous sandstones and shales, northern Green River Basin, Wyoming: in
Law
,
B.E.
Spencer
,
C. W.
, eds., Geology of tight gas reservoirs in the Pinedale anticline area, Wyoming, and at the Multiwell Experiment Site,
Colorado
:
U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1886
, Chapter D,
40
p.
Robinson
,
J. W.
,
2004
, Discovery of Jonah field, Sublette County, Wyoming: in
Robinson
,
J.W.
Shanley
,
K.W.
, eds.,
Jonah field: Case study of a tight-gas fluvial reservoir: AAPG Studies in Geology 52 and Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists 2004 Guidebook
 , pp.
9
20
.
Sansone
,
S.
Brown
,
T.
,
1992
,
Pinedale: in Greater Green River Basin and Wyoming Thrust Belt Oil and Gas Fields Symposium update
, p.
257
Smithson
,
S. B.
Brewer
,
J.
Kaufman
,
S.
Oliver
,
J.
Hurich
,
C.
,
1978
,
Question of the Wind River Thrust, Wyoming, resolved by COCORP deep reflection data and by gravity data, Thirtieth Annual Field Conference Guidebook
 , p.
227
234
.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA),
2009
,
U. S. crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids reserves, top 100 oil and gas fields of 2009
,
Washington, DC
:
U.S. Department of Energy
.
WOGCC well records, well cards, well files and well logs at the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Office
, Casper, Wyoming.
Wyoming Geological Association (no author specified), in 1957 Wyoming Oil and Gas Fields Symposium
, p. 347.

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