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Exploratory drilling in the Paradox basin in 1963 and early 1964 was concentrated in the Aneth area in southeastern Utah where it was prompted by expiring Navajo Indian leases. The principal objectives were Pennsylvanian carbonates which produce oil at the Aneth and Ismay fields. Reserves discovered by this effort were negligible. Elsewhere in the basin a new depth record, 16,237 feet, was set for the State of Utah in the Salt Anticline area, and in southwestern Colorado an active leasing and drilling play developed on a Pennsylvanian carbonate trend marginal to the Paradox evaporite basin.
In the San Juan basin of Colorado and New Mexico, development of gas reserves from the Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone in the Basin Dakota field continued at the rate of approximately 200 completions per year. Exploration drilling for oil in the Cretaceous Gallup Sandstone slowed somewhat but development drilling continued at the Many Rocks field where 53 producing wells have now been completed. A small Gallup oil field was discovered at South Waterflow and it presently consists of seven producing wells.
The most significant development influencing industry activity in the Four Corners was the offering for lease by the Navajo Indians of approximately two million acres of tribal land in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Industry interest was particularly high in the Black Mesa basin of northeastern Arizona where much of the acreage was made available for the first time. The high bid of $935 per acre for rank wildcat acreage reflects the intensity of this interest. A few wildcats have been drilled around the margins of the Black Mesa basin; however, the central portion of the basin which is entirely Indian land, is virtually undrilled. Geological information is meager but Pennsylvanian, Mississippian and Devonian beds appear to have the most potential for the development of significant hyd ocarbon reserves.
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