American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers Inc.

Abstract

The discussions and postulations in this paper are confined to formations of Wolfcamp paper are confined to formations of Wolfcamp age and older. The exploration of the Delaware basin has not followed the normal pattern of basin development. Expensive pattern of basin development. Expensive drilling costs, carbon-dioxide gas distribution, the uncertainty of future gas prices, lack of deep subsurface data, and difficulty with seismic interpretations have caused an erratic development. In addition, the Delaware basin has had to share the exploration dollar with the Val Verde basin. The first significant deep gas reserves were proven in the Val Verde basin and it was nearly 10 years before any promising reserves were found in the Delaware basin. The authors have combined data on the Delaware and Val Verde basins in order to obtain a better development history. Based on reserve prediction methods as developed by Hendricks and Moore, it is estimated that approximately 100 trillion cu ft of gas in place ultimately will be discovered in the place ultimately will be discovered in the Delaware-Val Verde basins.

In all probability, future exploration in the Delaware basin will continue to be spasmodic. Most of the new drilling in the immediate future apparently will be concentrated in the Val Verde basin once again. Although the southern part of the Delaware basin undoubtedly will continue to receive its share of exploration interest for a number of years, the northern portion offers the larger area with deep gas potential still relatively untested. It is logical to expect this area to receive its share of attention in future years.

Introduction

The future exploration prospects of any geological basin are difficult, at best, to evaluate, and pertinent geological knowledge of the area is essential. A review of the methods used by recognized authorities reveals that the best predictions are based on either a long history of reserves discovered or cumulative production. A production history of the production. A production history of the Delaware basin is almost nonexistent since most of the giant gas discoveries still are awaiting pipeline connections. By industry standards, a pipeline connections. By industry standards, a giant discovery contains over 1 trillion cu ft of gas. A comparison of discovered reserves by year of discovery does not make a satisfactory historical plot because the giant discoveries fall in a recent five-year period.

To obtain a better history, the authors have combined the Val Verde and Delaware basins, since both basins have the same geological characteristics and should be considered joint in any study of this nature.

This study is confined to reserves in formations of Wolfcamp age and older.

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