Saline waters from formations of several geologic ages are being studied in a seven-county area in southeastern New Mexico and western Texas, where more than 30,000 oil and gas tests have been drilled in the past 40 years. This area of 7,500 sq. miles, which is stratigraphically complex, includes the northern and eastern margins of the Delaware Basin between the Guadalupe and Glass Mountains.
Chloride-ion concentrations in water produced from rocks of various ages and depths have been mapped in Lea County, New Mexico, using machine map-plotting techniques and trend analyses. Anomalously low chloride concentrations (1,000–3,000 mg/l) were found along the western margin of the Central Basin platform in the San Andres and Capitan Limestone Formations of Permian age. These low chloride-ion concentrations may be due to preferential circulation of ground water through the more porous and permeable rocks.
Data being used in the study were obtained principally from oil companies and from related service companies. The P.B.W.D.S. (Permian Basin Well Data System) scout-record magnetic-tape file was used as a framework in all computer operations. Shallow or non-oil-field water analyses acquired from state, municipal, or federal agencies were added to these data utilizing P.B.W.D.S.-compatible reference numbers and decimal latitude-longitude coordinates. Approximately 20,000 water analyses collected from over 65 sources were coded, recorded on punch cards and stored on magnetic tape for computer operations. Extensive manual and computer error checks for duplication and accuracy were made to eliminate data errors resulting from poorly located or identified samples; non-representative or contaminated samples; mistakes in coding, reproducing or key-punching; laboratory errors; and inconsistent reporting. The original 20,000 analyses considered were reduced to 6,000 representative analyses which are being used in the saline water studies.