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One nonconventional oil target in Texas is the oil that remains in abandoned fields, defined as those fields that had no oil or gas production in 1977 and 1982. This target includes oil that has not been tapped by conventional field development because of reservoir heterogeneity and oil in reservoirs that have not been subjected to any secondary or tertiary recovery efforts. A total of 138 abandoned oil fields having individual cumulative production greater than 500,000 bbl are located in the Texas Gulf Coast (Railroad Commission of Texas Districts 2, 3, and 4). These 138 onshore fields produced 276 million barrels of oil before being abandoned. Nongiant fields in the Texas Gulf Coast average about 40% ultimate recovery, so these fields probably originally contained about 700 million bbl of oil in place. Therefore, about 424 million bbl of oil remain unrecovered.
Reservoirs in these abandoned fields are Tertiary sandstones. The 44 abandoned fields in the upper Texas Gulf Coast (District 3) produced from a wide range of plays; those plays with the largest number of abandoned fields are Yegua and Frio deep-seated domes, Eocene deltaic sandstone, and Frio barrier/strand-plain sandstone. The 19 abandoned fields in the middle Texas Gulf Coast (District 2) produced mainly from Wilcox and Frio fluvial/deltaic sandstones and from Frio and Jackson-Yegua barrier/strand-plain sandstones. The lower Texas Gulf Coast (District 4) contains 75 abandoned fields that produced from Frio fluvial/deltaic and barrier/strand-plain sandstones and from Jackson-Yegua barrier/strand-plain sandstones.
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