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Helium Resources of Wyoming
In Wyoming, most resources of helium are concentrated in Paleozoic reservoirs at La Barge anticline and Church Buttes Field on the Moxa arch in the Greater Green River Basin. There are reservoirs in other areas of the State, however, that can produce helium along with natural gas. Individually these other reservoirs only contain modest helium resources because helium concentrations in the gas are low or because the reservoirs are small. These other reservoirs, however, contain substantial marginally economic and subeconomic resources of helium.
An estimate of the original resources of helium in Wyoming is 611.06 billion ft3 (bcf). After cumulative production of 20.41 bcf is subtracted, Wyoming has remaining resources of 590.65 bcf (through December 31, 1994). The remaining recoverable resources of 508.18 bcf consist of 408.99 bcf of identified resources and 99.19 bcf of undiscovered resources. Of the 464.81 bcf of remaining identified resources of helium estimated for Wyoming, 408.99 bcf occur as identified economic resources in the Madison Limestone at La Barge anticline. Of the 55.82 bcf of remaining identified marginally economic and subeconomic resources, 30.38 bcf occur in other Paleozoic reservoirs at La Barge anticline, 3.30 bcf are in the Madison Limestone at Church Buttes Field, 7.86 bcf are in the reservoirs that contain Wyoming's 10.826 trillion ft3 (tcf) of natural gas reserves, and 14.78 bcf occur with probable gas resources in basins throughout the State.
Undiscovered resources of helium are an estimated 125.84 bcf. All of the 99.19 bcf of recoverable undiscovered resources will occur in Paleozoic formations below a depth of 15,000 ft in the Greater Green River Basin. Undiscovered marginally economic and subeconomic resources total 26.65 bcf and will be found scattered throughout Wyoming.
Current production of helium from Wyoming is about 1.5 bcf a year. All of the economic production of about one bcf a year is from the Madison Limestone at La Barge anticline, while the remaining, 0.5 bcf of production comes from many reservoirs in the State where helium is not extracted from the natural gas production and is considered marginally economic and subeconomic.
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