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Geologic assessment of undiscovered gas resources in Cretaceous–Tertiary coal beds of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain

December 21, 2022

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed an assessment in 2007 of the undiscovered, technically recoverable, continuous gas potential of Cretaceous–Tertiary coal beds of the onshore areas and State waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain. The assessment was based on geologic elements including hydrocarbon source rocks, availability of suitable reservoir rocks, and hydrocarbon accumulations in three coalbed gas total petroleum systems (TPSs) identified in the region: (1) the Olmos Coalbed Gas TPS (Upper Cretaceous), (2) the Wilcox Coalbed Gas TPS (Paleocene–Eocene), and (3) the Cretaceous-Tertiary Coalbed Gas TPS. Four continuous assessment units (AUs) were defined within these three TPSs: (1) the Cretaceous Olmos Coalbed Gas AU, (2) the Rio Escondido Basin Olmos Coalbed Gas AU, (3) the Wilcox Coalbed Gas AU, and (4) the Cretaceous-Tertiary Coalbed Gas AU, which was not quantitatively assessed and which includes all other Cretaceous and Tertiary coal beds that are not included in the other AUs.

This USGS assessment estimated a mean of 4.06 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable, continuous coalbed gas resources in the four AUs that were assessed. Nearly all of the undiscovered continuous gas resources that were estimated (95 percent, or 3.86 trillion cubic feet of gas [TCFG]) were in the Wilcox Coalbed Gas AU. The continuous gas resources resided in coalbed reservoirs. Gas sourced from these coal beds may also occur as conventional accumulations in adjacent or interlayered sandstones that were not included in this assessment of continuous resources. The assessment was conducted via the established USGS methodology for continuous petroleum accumulations and reflects estimates of undiscovered resources based on vertical (nonhorizontal) drilling technology.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Geologic assessment of undiscovered gas resources in Cretaceous–Tertiary coal beds of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain
DOI 10.3133/ofr20171167
Authors Peter D. Warwick
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2017-1167
Index ID ofr20171167
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Energy Resources Science Center