Is there a basin-centered gas accumulation in Cotton Valley Group Sandstones, Gulf Coast Basin, U.S.A.?

Bulletin 2184-D

, , and



The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, is reevaluating the resource potential of selected domestic basin-centered gas accumulations. Basin-centered gas accumulations are characterized by presence of gas in extensive low-permeability (tight) reservoirs in which conventional seals and trapping mechanisms are absent, abnormally high or low reservoir pressures exist, and gas-water contacts are absent. In 1995, the USGS assessed one basin-centered gas play and two conventional plays within the trend of Jurassic and Cretaceous Cotton Valley Group fl uvial-deltaic and barrierisland/ strandplain sandstones across the onshore northern Gulf of Mexico Basin. Detailed evaluation of geologic and production data provides new insights into these Cotton Valley plays. Two Cotton Valley sandstone trends are identifi ed based on reservoir properties and gas-production characteristics. Transgressive blanket sandstones across northern Louisiana have relatively high porosity and permeability and do not require fracture stimulation to produce gas at commercial rates. South of this trend, and extending westward into eastern Texas, massive sandstones of the Cotton Valley trend exhibit low porosity and permeability and require fracture stimulation. The high permeability of Cotton Valley blanket sandstones is not conducive to the presence of basin-centered gas, but lowpermeability massive sandstones provide the type of reservoir in which basin-centered gas accumulations commonly occur. Data on source rocks, including burial and thermal history, are consistent with the interpretation of potential basincentered gas within Cotton Valley sandstones. However, pressure gradients throughout most of the blanket- and massivesandstone trends are normal or nearly normal, which is not characteristic of basin-centered gas accumulations. The presence of gas-water contacts in at least seven fi elds across the blanket-sandstone trend together with relatively high permeabilities and high gas-production rates without fracture stimulation indicate that fi elds in this trend are conventional. Within the tight massive-sandstone trend, permeability is suffi ciently low that gas-water transition zones are vertically extensive and gas-water contacts either have not been encountered or are poorly defi ned. With increasing depth through these transition zones, gas saturation decreases and water saturation increases until eventually gas saturations become suffi ciently low that, in terms of ultimate cumulative production, wells are noncommercial. Such progressive increase in water saturation with depth suggests that poorly defi ned gas-water contacts probably are present below the depth at which wells become noncommercial. The interpreted presence of gas-water contacts within the tight, Cotton Valley massive-sandstone trend suggests that gas accumulations in this trend, too, are conventional, and that a basin-centered gas accumulation does not exist within Cotton Valley sandstones in the northern Gulf Basin.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Is there a basin-centered gas accumulation in Cotton Valley Group Sandstones, Gulf Coast Basin, U.S.A.?
Series title:
Series number:
Version 1.0
Year Published:
43 p.