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Geologic assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in the Lower Paleogene Midway and Wilcox Groups, and the Carrizo Sand of the Claiborne Group, of the Northern Gulf coast region

September 27, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently conducted an assessment of the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas potential of Tertiary strata underlying the onshore areas and State waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico coastal region. The assessment was based on a number of geologic elements including an evaluation of hydrocarbon source rocks, suitable reservoir rocks, and hydrocarbon traps in an Upper Jurassic-Cretaceous-Tertiary Composite Total Petroleum System defined for the region by the USGS. Five conventional assessment units (AUs) were defined for the Midway (Paleocene) and Wilcox (Paleocene-Eocene) Groups, and the Carrizo Sand of the Claiborne Group (Eocene) interval including: (1) the Wilcox Stable Shelf Oil and Gas AU; (2) the Wilcox Expanded Fault Zone Gas and Oil AU; (3) the Wilcox-Lobo Slide Block Gas AU; (4) the Wilcox Slope and Basin Floor Gas AU; and (5) the Wilcox Mississippi Embayment AU (not quantitatively assessed).

The USGS assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources for the Midway-Wilcox-Carrizo interval resulted in estimated mean values of 110 million barrels of oil (MMBO), 36.9 trillion cubic feet of gas (TCFG), and 639 million barrels of natural gas liquids (MMBNGL) in the four assessed units. The undiscovered oil resources are almost evenly divided between fluvial-deltaic sandstone reservoirs within the Wilcox Stable Shelf (54 MMBO) AU and deltaic sandstone reservoirs of the Wilcox Expanded Fault Zone (52 MMBO) AU. Greater than 70 percent of the undiscovered gas and 66 percent of the natural gas liquids (NGL) are estimated to be in deep (13,000 to 30,000 feet), untested distal deltaic and slope sandstone reservoirs within the Wilcox Slope and Basin Floor Gas AU.