Oil and gas potential of the Raton Basin, New Mexico
Lee A. Woodward


Minor amounts of natural gas were produced in the Raton Basin during the late 1970's from the Dakota Formation (Cretaceous) at the Wagon Mound field in New Mexico and during the 1930's from fractured Cretaceous shale at the Garcia field of southern Colorado. However, in general, limited exploration for hydrocarbons in the basin has met with only minor success. This is probably due in large part to lack of deep drilling and to the fact that permeable sandstones are less abundant in the Cretaceous System in the Raton Basin than in most of the productive basins of the Rocky Mountain region.

At the present time the Raton Basin is the only major Laramide basin of the Rocky Mountain region that does not have commercial hydrocarbon production; however, major undiscovered accumulations of oil and (or) gas could be present. Numerous shows have been recorded, mainly from the Cretaceous System and a few from the Pennsylvanian; dark marine shales are potential hydrocarbon source beds in these intervals. Possible traps include fracture systems in shaly Cretaceous units, truncated beds beneath thrust faults, up-dip pinchout of Pennsylvanian sandstones, a few untested anticlines and perhaps complex stratigraphic zones in the deeper parts of the basin.


  1. Woodward, Lee A., 1987, Oil and gas potential of the Raton Basin, New Mexico, in: Northeastern New Mexico, Lucas, S. G.; Hunt, A. P., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 38th Field Conference, pp. 331-338.

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