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Geology and undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Madison Group, Williston Basin, North Dakota and Montana

January 1, 2010

Two of the total petroleum systems (TPS) defined as part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessment of the Williston Basin contain Mississippian Madison Group strata: 1) the Bakken-Lodgepole TPS, which includes the Lodgepole Formation; and 2) the Madison TPS, which includes the Mission Canyon, Charles, and Spearfish formations. The Bakken-Lodgepole TPS is defined as the area in which oil generated from the upper and lower shales of the Upper Devonian-Lower Mississippian Bakken Formation has accumulated in reservoirs in the Three Forks, Bakken, and Lodgepole formations. Two conventional assessment units (AU) have been identified within the Bakken-Lodgepole TPS, including one in the Bakken Formation and another in the Waulsortian mound reservoirs of the lower Lodgepole Formation. Lodgepole Formation Waulsortian mound oil production has been restricted to a small part of Stark County, North Dakota. Reservoirs are sealed by middle and upper Lodgepole Formation tight argillaceous limestones. Several nonproductive mounds and mound-like structures have also been identified in the Lodgepole Formation. Productivity correlates closely with the oil window of the Bakken Formation shales, and also indicates the likelihood of limited lateral migration of Bakken Formation oil into Lodgepole Formation reservoirs in North Dakota and Montana. Such considerations limit the estimated mean of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources to 8 million barrels of oil (MMBO) for the Lodgepole Formation conventional reservoirs. The Madison TPS is defined as the area where oil generated from Mission Canyon and Charles formation source rocks has accumulated in reservoirs of the Mission Canyon and Charles formations and in reservoirs within the Triassic Spearfish Formation. One continuous reservoir AU, the Mission Canyon-Charles AU, was defined within the Madison TPS; its boundary coincides with the TPS boundary. There is extensive conventional production throughout the AU on major structures and in stratigraphic-structural traps. The largest fields are on the Little Knife, Billings Nose, and Nesson anticlines. Recent studies show that Madison Group oils were generated from organic-rich Mission Canyon Formation and Ratcliffe Interval carbonates adjacent to the reservoirs. Seals were formed by overlying or lateral evaporites or tight carbonates. Based on available geologic and production data, the undiscovered oil resources for conventional reservoirs in the Mission Canyon-Charles AU were estimated to have a mean of 45 MMBO.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2010
Title Geology and undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Madison Group, Williston Basin, North Dakota and Montana
Authors Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Paul G. Lillis, Richard M. Pollastro, Lawrence O. Anna
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Mountain Geologist
Series Number
Index ID 70044634
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization