Geological studies of the COST GE-1 well, United States South Atlantic outer continental shelf area

Circular 800




The COST No. GE-1 well is the first deep stratigraphic test to be drilled in the southern part of the U.S. Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (AOCS) area. The well was drilled within the Southeast Georgia Embayment to a total depth of 13,254 ft (4,040 m). It penetrated a section composed largely of chalky limestones to a depth of about 3,300 ft (1,000 m) below the drill platform. Limestones and calcareous shales with some dolomite predominate between 3,300 and 7,200 ft (1,000 and 2,200 m), whereas interbedded sandstones and shales are dominant from 7,200 to 11,000 ft (2,200 to 3,350 m). From 11,000 ft (3,350 m) to the bottom, the section consists of highly indurated to weakly metamorphosed pelitic sedimentary rocks and meta-igneous flows or intrusives. Biostratigraphic examination has shown that the section down to approximately 3,500 ft (1,060 m) is Tertiary, the interval from 3,500 to 5,900 ft (1,060 to 1,800 m) is Upper Cretaceous, and the section from 5,900 to 11,000 ft (1,800 to 3,350 m) is apparently Lower Cretaceous. The indurated to weakly metamorphosed section below 11,000 ft (3,350 m) is barren of fauna or flora but is presumed to be Paleozoic based on radiometric age determinations. Rocks deposited at upper-slope water depths were encountered in the Upper Cretaceous, Oligocene, and Miocene parts of the section. All other units were deposited in outer-shelf to terrestrial environments. Examination of cores, well cuttings, and electric logs shows that potential hydrocarbon-reservoir units are present within the chalks in the uppermost part of the section as well as in sandstone beds to a depth of at least 10,000 ft (3,000 m). Sandstones below that depth, and the metamorphic section between 11,000 and 13.250 ft (3,350 and 4,040 m) have extremely low permeabilities and are unlikely to contain potential reservoir rock. Studies of organic geochemistry, vitrinite reflectance, and color alteration of visible organic matter indicate that the chalk section down to approximately 3,600 ft (1,100 m) contains low concentrations of indigenous hydrocarbons, is thermally immature, and has a very poor source-rock potential. The interval from 3,600 to 5,900 ft (1,100 to 1,800 m) has a high content of marine organic matter but appears to be thermally immature. Where buried more deeply, this interval may have significant potential as an oil source. The section from 5,900 to 8,850 ft (1,800 to 2,700 m) has geochemical characteristics indicative of a poor oil source rock and is thermally immature. Rocks below this depth, although they may be marginally to fully mature, are virtually barren of organic matter and thus have little or no source-rock potential. Therefore, despite the thermal immaturity of the overall section, the uppor half of the sedimentary section penetrated in the well shows the greatest petroleum source potential.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Geological studies of the COST GE-1 well, United States South Atlantic outer continental shelf area
Series title:
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey,
114 p. :ill., maps ;26 cm.