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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Pacific Section of AAPG


Symposium of Papers Presented at the Fortieth Annual Convention, Bakersfield, California, 1965
Pages 4-15

Asphalto—A Sleeper Among Giants

Hy Seiden


The Asphalto field lies in an area that has produced immense volumes of oil for over 75 years. It is also surrounded by 3 dry holes, 2 of which are a scant 1 1/2 miles apart. Exporation was discouraged by these failures and the area lay dormant since March 1951, when the last of these dry roles was abandoned. More than 10 years later, in December 1962, E. A. Bender, on a play worked up by the author, brought in the discovery well for the Asphalto Field, the “Standard Oil” 18–23Z, in Section 23, T. 30 S., R. 22 E., Mount Diablo Base and Meridian.

The Asphalto Field now has over 60 wells and in 3 years has produced about 12,000,000 barrels of oil and 14,000,000 Mcf. of gas. Reserves are estimated at about 50 million barrels. Peak production was 17,000 barrels per day in September 1963. Present production is about 10,000 barrels per day.

The trap is formed by a shaleout of the upper Miocene Asphalto sand on the southeasterly-plunging nose of the McKittrick Front Structure.

The Asphalto discovery has rejuvenated exploration in the area by demonstrating that giants can still exist even in an area as highly explored as McKittrick.

Since Asphalto, at least five other significant discoveries have been made in the surrounding area. With Asphalto, these discoveries have added over 65,000 barrels per day of new production and 200 to 400 million barrels of oil to the primary reserves of the area. Strangely enough, all these discoveries have been made in a single township, T. 30 S., R. 22 E., M.D.B. & M.

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