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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 44 (1960)

Issue: 6. (June)

First Page: 879

Last Page: 890

Title: Developments in Colorado and Western Nebraska in 1959

Author(s): O. Winston Hampton (2), R. C. Blakely (3)


Nebraska set a drilling record with 951 wells drilled in 1959. Exploratory drilling increased 24.4% while development drilling was up 39.2% from 1958 activity. Forty-three new Cretaceous "D"-"J" fields were discovered in Nebraska in the established trend areas of the Denver basin. Three Pennsylvanian Lansing-Kansas City oil fields were discovered in the Cambridge arch area. Total oil production in western Nebraska for 1959 was 22,584,096 bbls., an increase of 13% over the 19,902,500 bbls. produced in 1958.

Due to a slow down in the Colorado part of the Denver basin, exploratory and development drilling declined in Colorado with a 4.8% decrease in exploratory drilling and a 3.5% decrease in development drilling. This over-all decline was accompanied by an increase in drilling activity in the southeastern and western parts of the state. Thirty-three of the 59 successful exploratory tests in Colorado were "D"-"J" wells concentrated in the sand fairway of the Denver basin, where 24 new fields were discovered. A "J" sand discovery in southwestern Washington County extended the "D"-"J" trend a few miles east of its previous known limits. Exploration continued along the Las Animas arch in southeastern Colorado where two more successful offsets to the McClave Morrow gas field and a Morrow oil d scovery inspired new vigor in the search for oil and gas in that area. Western Colorado had the best statistical year in its history, with 102 exploratory tests resulting in 16 new-field discoveries, 3 new deeper-pool pays, and 3 successful outposts, for a total of 22 discoveries and a success ratio of 21.6%. Some of these successes may not be significant from the standpoint of finding important reserves, however, as indicated by their low initial potentials. Discoveries included a number of Cretaceous producers and a new deeper-pool Weber pay in the northwestern part of the state and 3 Paradox fields in southwestern Colorado. A Utah Mississippian-Devonian discovery by Pure Oil along the Colorado-Utah Lisbon Valley trend indicated that increased activity would be forthcoming to test thes deeper formations in the Colorado part of the Paradox basin. Total Colorado production for 1959 amounted to 46,444,422 bbls. of oil, a 5% decrease from 49,010,000 bbls. produced in 1958. Total gas production for 1959 was 84,946,402 MCF (wet gas) and 50,012,342 MCF (dry gas).

Exploratory activities in the "D"-"J" fairway of the Denver basin in both Colorado and Nebraska should continue at about present levels, and may increase because of the expiration of major lease blocks and the granting of shorter-term leases within the fairway. Other major exploration for 1960 will be the search for late Cretaceous and early Tertiary oil and gas fields in western Colorado, the search for Pennsylvanian stratigraphic traps and Paleozoic structures throughout Colorado and Nebraska, and the search for Mississippian-Devonian production in the Paradox basin. Seismic and exploratory drilling will probably increase along the Sierra Grande-Las Animas arch in southeastern Colorado, along the Cambridge arch in western Nebraska, and in the Paradox basin of southwestern Colorado.

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