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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Pacific Section of AAPG


Tomorrow's Oil from Today's Provinces: Selected Papers Presented at the 51st Annual Meeting, AAPG Pacific Section, in San Francisco, 1976
Pages 39-46

Tomorrow’s Oil From Southern California Basins

George H. Feister, Edward A. Hall


This paper covers all of the southern California productive provinces except the San Joaquin Valley. It is an overview of oil industry activity during the six-year period since publication of AAPG Memoir 15, “Future Petroleum Provinces of the United States - Their Geology and Potential”. We will comment on the geologic estimates of future oil in place predicted in Memoir 15, and suggest where tomorrow’s oil may be found.

During the past six years, significant additions to proved reserves have been made onshore in the Santa Maria, Ventura, and Los Angeles basins. However, the largest reserves have been added in the Santa Barbara Channel area of the Ventura basin where anticlinal closures within the Santa Ynez unit are estimated to contain 1.1 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 550 billion cubic feet of gas. Also important was the discovery of gas and oil by Union and Standard on an anticlinal trend within the Santa Clara unit, and development of large Pliocene reserves at Dos Cuadras and Carpinteria offshore.

The December 11, 1975, OCS Federal sale #35 was significant in that the industry risked $195,000,000 for total high bids on 49 tracts in the southern California outer banks, and paid $231,000,000 for 13 tracts awarded in the Los Angeles basin. Valuable information, plus hopefully large new reserves will result from drilling.

The 95 to 105 billion barrels of future oil in place predicted in Memoir 15 is thought to be conservative and probably this much and more still remains to be discovered. Much of this will be in very deep water and in high-risk areas and will require improved technology and economics, plus favorable treatment by governmental agencies before it can be recovered.

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