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The Arkansas Ouachitas is a frontier area for exploration for oil and gas. To date, drilling has been so limited as to prove meaningless as far as subsurface exploration is concerned. This area provides a rare opportunity to examine various techniques, criteria, indicators, and even hunches using only foresight without the benefit of hindsight in assuming that it will be productive of oil and gas. Time will tell if these predictions are true.
Criteria that one would look for in exploration in a new province include the following in the Ouachitas: (1) sedimentary column that in its entirety exceeds 50,000 ft (15,240 m); (2) numerous oil seeps, gas shows, and residual asphaltic deposits; (3) numerous source beds, reservoir beds, and seals in the stratigraphic column; (4) potential for various entrapping mechanisms in the form of structure, faulting, stratigraphic traps, and reefing in ordovician carbonates under the overthrust; (5) a north-south seismic line that shows definite stratification of beds across the entire thrust area; and (6) Landsat interpretation which indicates areas of structural and tonal anomalies.
The next 5-10 years will witness an extensive and expensive exploration effort in this area. Only after drilling has probed the area will this story be concluded.
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