The purpose of the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Oil and Gas Assessment is to develop geologically based hypotheses regarding the potential for additions to oil and gas reserves in priority areas of the United States. The USGS recently completed an assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Raton Basin-Sierra Grande Uplift Province of southeastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico (USGS Province 41). The Cretaceous Vermejo Formation and Cretaceous-Tertiary Raton Formation have production and undiscovered resources of coalbed methane. Other formations in the province exhibit potential for gas resources and limited production.
This assessment is based on geologic principles and uses the total petroleum system concept. The geologic elements of a total petroleum system include hydrocarbon source rocks (source rock maturation, hydrocarbon generation and migration), reservoir rocks (sequence stratigraphy and petrophysical properties), and hydrocarbon traps (trap formation and timing). The USGS used this geologic framework to define two total petroleum systems and five assessment units. All five assessment units were quantitatively assessed for undiscovered gas resources. Oil resources were not assessed because of the limited potential due to levels of thermal maturity of petroleum source rocks.