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The discovery of Abo gas production from continental Permian red beds in north-central Chaves County, New Mexico, resulted in a flurry of drilling activity. Yates Petroleum Corp. reentered the Honolulu 1 McConkey, an Ellenburger dry hole, and completed it from Abo perforations for an initial potential of 2,551 mcf of gas per day and 1 bbl of condensate per day. Although this discovery was completed in September 1977, drilling continued at a slow pace until federal regulations designated the Abo formation as "tight gas sands," in 1980. This stimulated drilling activity to the extent that, as of August 1983, almost 850 wells had been drilled, with a high success ratio.
Lee named the Abo formation for sandstone exposures in Abo Canyon, at the south end of the Manzano Mountains, southeast of Albuquerque. Needham and Bates re-described the Abo and named a type section for exposures in Socorro and Torrance Counties and considered it to be of continental origin because of cross-bedding, plant remains, and other characteristics.
The Abo is generally believed to be Wolfcampian in age; however, in a few areas the upper portion of the Abo is Leonardian. This is based partly on fossils and also on the fact that the Abo in places grades into the overlying Yeso.
The Pedernal landmass, situated to the north and west of the Pecos slope area, provided most of the sediments as siltstones, sandstones, mudstones, and shales. The sandstones are characteristically arkosic in most areas. These Abo sediments were deposited under fluvial-deltaic conditions.
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