Characteristics of discrete and basin-centered parts of the Lower Silurian regional oil and gas accumulation, Appalachian basin; preliminary results from a data set of 25 oil and gas fields

Open-File Report 98-216




Oil and gas trapped in Lower Silurian 'Clinton' sands and Medina Group sandstone constitute a regional hydrocarbon accumulation that extends 425 mi in length from Ontario, Canada to northeastern Kentucky. The 125-mi width of the accumulation extends from central Ohio eastward to western Pennsylvania and west-central New York. Lenticular and intertonguing reservoirs, a gradual eastward decrease in reservoir porosity and permeability, and poorly segregated gas, oil, and water in the reservoirs make it very difficult to recognize clear-cut geologic- and production-based subdivisions in the accumulation that are relevant to resource assessment. However, subtle variations are recognizable that permit the regional accumulation to be subdivided into three tentative parts: a western gas-bearing part having more or less discrete fields; an eastern gas-bearing part having many characteristics of a basin-centered accumulation; and a central oil- and gas-bearing part with 'hybrid' fields that share characteristics of both discrete and basin-centered accumulation. A data set of 25 oil and gas fields is used in the report to compare selected attributes of the three parts of the regional accumulation. A fourth part of the regional accumulation, not discussed here, is an eastern extension of basin-centered accumulation having local commercial gas in the Tuscarora Sandstone, a proximal facies of the Lower Silurian depositional system. A basin-centered gas accumulation is a regionally extensive and commonly very thick zone of gas saturation that occurs in low-permeability rocks in the central, deeper part of a sedimentary basin. Another commonly used term for this type of accumulation is deep-basin gas accumulation. Basin-centered accumulation is a variety of continuous-type accumulation. The 'Clinton' sands and Medina Group sandstone part of the basin-centered gas accumulation is characterized by: a) reservoir porosity ranging from about 5 to 10 percent; b) reservoir permeability equal to or less than 0.1 mD; c) low reservoir water saturation and an average water yield per well less than about 9 to 13 BW/MMCFG; d) a broadly defined updip water-block trap; e) underpressured reservoirs with a gradient ranging from 0.25 to 0.35 psi/ft; and f) reservoir temperature of at least 125? F (52? C). Other than for historical and location purposes, the term field has little or no meaning as an assessment unit for the regional accumulation. In practice, each designated field represents a production sweet spot having relatively high EURs per well that in turn merges with surrounding gas-productive regions that are generally larger in area but have lower EURs per well. This important feature of the Lower Silurian regional accumulation, whereby most wells drilled into it are gas productive, must be considered when assessing its potential for remaining recoverable gas resources. Most of the remaining gas resources reside in 'Clinton' sands and Medina Group sandstone in the basin-centered part of the accumulation where as much as several tens of TCF of natural gas may be technically recoverable. The Tuscarora Sandstone in the eastern extension of the basin-centered part of the accumulation underlies a very large area and, although commonly characterized by very low porosity and permeability and low-Btu gas, probably contains additional gas resources. Remaining undiscovered recoverable gas and oil resources in the discrete and hybrid parts of the accumulation are primarily located beneath Lake Erie.

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Characteristics of discrete and basin-centered parts of the Lower Silurian regional oil and gas accumulation, Appalachian basin; preliminary results from a data set of 25 oil and gas fields
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iv, 71 p. :ill. (some col.), maps; 28 cm.