The potential for a continuous-type basin-centered gas accumulation in the Hanna Basin in Carbon County, Wyoming,
is evaluated using geologic and production data including
mud-weight, hydrocarbon-show, formation-test, bottom-hole-temperature, and vitrinite reflectance data from 29 exploratory
This limited data set supports the presence of a hypothetical
basin-centered gas play in the Hanna Basin. Two generalized
structural cross sections illustrate our interpretations of possible abnormally pressured compartments. Data indicate that a gas-charged, overpressured interval may occur within the Cretaceous Mowry, Frontier, and Niobrara Formations at depths below 10,000 ft along the southern and western margins of the basin. Overpressuring may also occur near the basin center within the Steele Shale and lower Mesaverde Group section at depths below 18,000 to 20,000 ft. However, the deepest wells drilled to date (12,000 to 15,300 ft) have not encountered over-pressure in the basin center. This overpressured zone is likely to be relatively small (probably 20 to 25 miles in diameter) and is probably depleted of gas near major basement reverse faults and outcrops where gas may have escaped. Water may have invaded reservoirs through outcrops and fracture zones along the basin margins, creating an extensive normally pressured zone.
A zone of subnormal pressure also may exist below the water-saturated, normal-pressure zone and above the central zone of overpressure. Subnormal pressures have been interpreted
in the center of the Hanna Basin at depths ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 ft based on indirect evidence including lost-circulation zones. Three wells on the south side of the basin, where the top of the subnormally pressured zone is interpreted to cut across stratigraphic boundaries, tested the Niobrara Formation and recovered gas and oil shows with very low shut-in pressures.