The San Juan Basin--Episodes and aspirations
— Thomas A. Dugan


The San Juan Basin has seen three periods of increased activity in the development of oil and gas. New discoveries in the fall of 1921 that lasted through 1925 sparked the first boom. The second boom was the result of the completion of the El Paso Natural Gas line to California; it was extended by the completion of the Pacific Northwest Pipeline to Washington and Oregon, and further extended by the simultaneous discovery of the Bisti, Horseshoe, Verde, Gallegos and other Gallup pools. The second boom lasted from 1951 through 1959. The third boom is just starting and is the result of increased gas prices and the Blanco-Mesaverde infill drilling program. The life of this boom will depend on governmental controls over the price of gas, the inflation rate of well costs, and environmental requirements. New discoveries in deeper horizons will hopefully make the third boom the largest and longest.
Prior to the first boom a good deal of exploration was done, mostly by local promotional groups: (1) The Durango Syndicate drilled a well on the Weinig farm near Durango in 1890; (2) Farmington businessmen drilled the Blake Well near the present Farmington hospital in 1901; (3) Farmington Oil and Gas Company drilled a well near the San Juan-Animas River junction in 1906; (4) Jerry Ferris found oil at Seven Lakes, but not in commercial quantities, in 1911 (fig. 1); (5) San Juan Basin Oil Company drilled two Meadow wells near the present site of the New Mexico Public Service power plant in 1912 13; (6) Mesa Verde Oil Company drilled two wells near Flora Vista in 1918-19; and (7) the T. E. Williams Syndicate drilled the deepest test to date (3,900 ft) 5 miles northwest of Aztec during 1920-21. All of these wells found small shows of oil and considerable gas flows, but none were successfully completed.

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Recommended Citation:

  1. Dugan, Thomas A., 1977, The San Juan Basin--Episodes and aspirations, in: San Juan Basin III, Fassett, J. E.; James, H. L.; Hodgson, Helen E., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 28th Field Conference, pp. 83-89.

[see guidebook]