NEWS RELEASE: Wyoming Geological Survey Spring Newsletter

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Interpreting the past, providing for the future - summer 2017 newsletter

WSGS releases study on Codell Sandstone oil production trends in northern Denver Basin

The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) recently investigated Codell Sandstone Oil Production trends in the northern portion of the Denver Basin in Laramie County, Wyoming, and found that proper application of drilling and completion technologies and practices appear to dictate the success of wells. 

The Codell Sandstone has historically been considered uneconomical to produce because of its low porosity and permeability. With recent advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods, however, the unconventional "tight" sand has proved to be an economically productive oil reservoir under the right conditions.

Nearly 120 horizontal wells operated by six companies have produced from the sandstone since 2012. The report examines characteristics associated with the highest producing of those wells.

The goal of this investigation is to provide a better understanding of operational best practices that in turn can help industry and regulators in optimizing oil production from the Codell Sandstone in the northern Denver Basin in Wyoming. The WSGS is performing similar analyses on additional unconventional plays in the Powder River and northern Denver basins to determine the influence that completion techniques and geology have on production.

The report, "Codell Sandstone Oil Production Trends, Northern Denver Basin, Laramie County, Wyoming," is available as a free download, and is accompanied by an Excel spreadsheet containing all well drilling, completion and production data used in the study. More information about the report can be found in the news release

Program focuses on geology in Wyoming state parks


Wyoming is peppered with state parks. Eleven in fact. They may be a traveler’s final destination or a stop along the way. A major draw to these parks is the geology. 

To enhance your visit to these sites, the WSGS is publishing public information circulars about each park’s geology. The publications are part of a new WSGS Geology of State Parks program. 

All state parks will be reviewed, but geologists will begin with Curt Gowdy in the southeastern corner, Boysen in the central part of the state and Seminoe in south-central Wyoming (seen in photo at top right). Other parks are Bear River, Buffalo Bill, Edness K. Wilkins, Glendo, Guernsey, Hot Springs, Keyhole and Sinks Canyon.

StateMap projects moving ahead

Work has started on several mapping projects in southeastern and south-central Wyoming. The maps will be published under the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program – State Geologic Survey Mapping Component, commonly referred to as StateMap. 

The first set of mapping projects will be two bedrock geologic maps of the Fort Steele 7.5’ quadrangle and Bridger Pass 7.5’ quadrangle in Carbon County, and a preliminary surficial geology map of the Muddy Gap area in Fremont and Carbon counties.
The second set involves preliminary geologic maps of the Albany, Foxpark and Woods Landing 7.5’ quadrangles in the Southern Medicine Bow Mountains Mining District in Albany County, and a preliminary geologic map of the Gas Hills 7.5’ quadrangle in Fremont and Natrona counties.

Online 'story map' highlights geology of various sites across the state

Devils Tower. Fossil Butte. Vedauwoo. These are just a few of the locations you can learn about the geology with the new digital 'Story Map' on the WSGS website. The online map is designed to provide a few facts and photos of eight sites. There's also information about the state's museums and other areas with interesting geology, including within the path of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.

First update made to online oil and gas map

The new interactive online Oil and Gas Map of Wyoming launched in July 2016 has undergone its first update, including revising the map's data and improving its functionality.

The interactive map complements the WSGS' traditional and popular paper Oil and Gas Map of Wyoming, first published in 1943.

The web-based map displays oil and gas fields, their producing reservoirs, horizontal wells, pipelines, oil refineries, gas plants, hydrocarbon products and well production status.

The online map is free to use and can be accessed from the WSGS' websiteMore information about the map and recent updates can be found in the news release.

Survey collaborates with Florida university to create an Upper Cretaceous stratigraphic chart of Wyoming

Recent WSGS projects working to correlate Upper Cretaceous subsurface oil reservoirs in the Denver and Powder River basins have highlighted the need for a comprehensive overview of the statewide stratigraphy, from 100 million to 66 million years ago. 

Oil and gas geologist Ranie Lynds is collaborating with Joshua Slattery at the University of South Florida to create an updated chart that links the biostratigraphy of the Western Interior – including ammonite, inoceramid, land vertebrate and palynostratigraphic zonations – with the most recent Late Cretaceous chronostratigraphic data. 

The final chart will cover all of the basins in Wyoming and is expected to be available by fall 2017.

New reports, map now available

WSGS publications and maps are available as free downloads. Interactive, online maps are free to access. Recently published products include:

Take the ABCs tour of geologic wonders in Wyoming

Wyoming has abundant geologic wonders, ranging from gemstones to specific locations. 

To help spread the word about these interesting features found in every part of the state, the WSGS is "touring" Wyoming and sharing postcards with a few fun facts. Be aware, these weekly stops are only a glimpse of what Wyoming has to offer, as the Survey is on an ABCs tour that is limited to the number of letters in the alphabet. 

The postcards are posted every week on the WSGS' Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, and can also be found on the website.

Current WSGS projects

Information about other work underway at the WSGS can be found on the agency's current projects webpage.