Oil and gas exploration in the Albuquerque Basin
Bruce A. Black


An objective analysis of critical data regarding the Albuquerque basin play by Shell can be summarized as follows:
1. Adequate source rocks are available in Cretaceous shales, in Jurassic Todilto limestones, and locally in Pennsylvanian shales.
2. The maturity history of the basin is favorable over large areas, particularly in the deeper central and eastern portions.
3. Reservoir-quality rocks are present in the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and probably in the Pennsylvanian sections of the basin.
4. Migration of hydrocarbon into the Cretaceous rocks in central portions of the basin evidently has been proven.
5. Large structures may be present in the basin and in conjunction with the Cretaceous stratigraphy should provide excellent trapping mechanisms.
6. Significant shows of oil and gas were reported by the Shell Isleta No. 1.
7. Exploration to date has tended to confirm early speculation oi the potential of the basin and has set the stage for additional tests which are justified under the present economic conditions.
The discovery of oil or gas in commercial quantities in the Albu- querque basin would, in reality, be much more significant than a simplc new-field discovery itself. A discovery would imply not just a field bui a new oil- and gas-producing basin and would forecast possible additional oil- and gas-field discoveries in the other Rio Grande rift basins.

Table 2 is a comparison of the present knowledge of the critica parameters for oil and gas accumulations in the basin. comnared knowledge in 1960 and 1970. It is apparent that the state of knowledge strongly suggests that production from the Albuquerque basin is only a matter of economics and time. In the writer's opinion, the question is not if production can be established, but rather when it will be established.


  1. Black, Bruce A., 1982, Oil and gas exploration in the Albuquerque Basin, in: Albuquerque Country II, Grambling, J. A.; Wells, S. G., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 33rd Field Conference, pp. 313-323.

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