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Timing of oil and gas generation of petroleum systems in the Southwestern Wyoming Province

Mountain Geologist

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Abstract

Burial history, thermal maturity, and timing of petroleum generation were modeled for eight key source-rock horizons at seven locations throughout the Southwestern Wyoming Province. The horizons are the bases of the Lower Permian Phosphoria Formation, the Upper Cretaceous Mowry Shale, Niobrara Formation, Baxter Shale (and equivalents), upper part of the Mesaverde Group, Lewis Shale, Lance Formation, and the Tertiary (Paleocene) Fort Union Formation. Burial history locations include three in the deepest parts of the province (Adobe Town in the Washakie Basin, Eagles Nest in the Great Divide Basin, and Wagon Wheel in the northern Green River Basin); two at intermediate basin depths (Federal 31-1 and Currant, Creek in the central and southern parts of the Green River Basin, respectively); and two relatively shallow locations (Bear 1 on the southeastern margin of the Sand Wash Basin and Bruff 2 on the Moxa arch). An overall ranking of the burial history locations in order of decreasing thermal maturity is Adobe Town > Eagles Nest > Wagon Wheel > Currant Creek > Federal 31-1 > Bear-1 > Bruff 2. The results of the models indicate that peak petroleum generation from Cretaceous oil- and gas-prone source rocks in the deepest parts of the province occurred from Late Cretaceous through middle Eocene. At the modeled locations, peak oil generation from source rocks of the Phosphoria Formation, which contain type-IIS kerogen, occurred in the Late Cretaceous (80 to 73 million years ago (Ma)). Gas generation from the cracking of Phosphoria oil reached a peak in the late Paleocene (57 Ma) only in the deepest parts of the province. The Mowry Shale, Niobrara Formation, and Baxter Shale (and equivalents) contain type-IIS or a mix of type-II and type-III kerogens. Oil generation from these units, in the deepest parts of the province, reached peak rates during the latest Cretaceous to early Paleocene (66 to 61 Ma). Only at these deepest locations did these units reach peak gas generation from the cracking of oil, which occurred in the early to late Eocene (52 to 41 Ma). For the Mesaverde Group, which also contains a mix of type-II and type-III kerogen, peak oil generation occurred only in the deepest parts of the province during middle Eocene (50 to 41 Ma). Only at Adobe Town did cracking of oil occur and gas generation reach peak in the earliest Oligocene (33 Ma). Gas-prone source rocks (type-III kerogen) of the Mowry and Baxter (and equivalents) Shales reached peak gas generation in the latest Cretaceous (66 Ma) in the deepest parts of the province. At the shallower Bear 1 location, the Mancos Shale (Baxter equivalent) source rocks reached peak gas generation at about this same time. Gas generation from the gas-prone Mesaverde source rocks started at all of the modeled locations, but reached peak generation at only the deepest locations in the early Eocene (54 to 49 Ma). The Lewis Shale, Lance Formation, and Fort Union Formation all contain gas-prone source rocks with type-III kerogen. Peak generation of gas from the Lewis Shale occurred only at Eagles Nest and Adobe Town in the early Eocene (52 Ma). Source rocks of the Lance reached peak gas generation only at the deepest locations during the middle Eocene (48 to 45 Ma) and the Fort Union reached peak gas generation only at Adobe Town also in the middle Eocene (44 Ma).

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Timing of oil and gas generation of petroleum systems in the Southwestern Wyoming Province
Series title:
Mountain Geologist
Volume
41
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
87
Last page:
118
Number of Pages:
32