University Lands Advanced Recovery Initative

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Hydrocarbon production from West Texas lands held by The University of Texas System has been in decline since the 1960s (fig. 1). Nonetheless, analysis of resources on University lands indicates that of the 7,252 million stock tank barrels (MMSTB) of original oil in place, only 1,679 MMSTB has been recovered since production was established early in this century, and only 150 MMSTB of reserves exist. Unless advanced development practices are applied to University lands fields, some 5,423 MMSTB will therefore remain unrecovered in existing fields. Importantly, 2,140 MMSTB of this resource, nearly one-third of the original oil in place, is mobile oil that can be recovered using standard drilling and completion practices, provided that wellbores and completion intervals are geologically targeted to access this unrecovered resource (fig. 2).

The goal of the University Lands Advanced Recovery Initiative is to characterize selected University Lands reservoirs to aid operators in geologically targeting the remaining hydrocarbon resource to stem the decline in University Lands production. This project is funded by The University of Texas (U.T.) System and by matching funds from operators of University Lands fields chosen for site-specific studies. The agreement between the Bureau of Economic Geology and the U.T. System was finalized on July 29, 1996. Three individual site-specific projects have been initiated in the first year of the project: (1) Fuhrman-Mascho Block 10 Unit, a San Andres-Grayburg carbonate and sandstone reservoir in Andrews County operated by Arrow Operating Company, (2) University Waddell Devonian field, a Devonian chert reservoir in Crane County operated by Pennzoil, and (3) North McElroy Grayburg field, a Grayburg carbonate reservoir in Crane and Upton Counties newly acquired by Apache Corporation (fig. 3). Fuhrman-Mascho and University Waddell fields have recovery efficiencies significantly below that of comparable fields within the same geologically based play. McElroy field, although producing at an efficiency above play average, contains an enormous 832 million barrels of unrecovered mobile oil (table 1).


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