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Circular 12—Future Oil Possibilities of New Mexico

By R. L. Bates, 1946, reprinted from The Oil and Gas Journal, February 2, 1946, 9 pp., 3 figs.

Although NM produces more than 100,000 bbl. of oil daily, this production is concentrated in two small geographic areas of the state, the bulk in the southeast corner, and a smaller volume in the northwest corner. In terms of geographic area, most of the state remains undeveloped.

The purpose of this article is to examine the nonproducing areas to determine their future oil possibilities, using Levorsen's four major criteria for evaluating the possibilities of any given region. These are (1) thickness of sedimentary rocks; (2) evidences of oil and gas, such as seeps, shown in wildcats, etc.; (3) effects of unconformities; (4) wedge belts of porosity; and, in addition, because we are concerned with smaller areas, (5) geologic structure. These criteria are applied to each of five areas of the state as a means of measuring future oil possibilities. For convenience and reference, a correlation chart has been added, listing the formations in the parts of the state considered to have appreciable future oil possibilities.

It will be evident, after considering each area in detail, that roughly ¾ of NM has more or less promising future oil possibilities. To realize these possibilities without prohibitive expense will necessitate a revision of some of the exploration policies that have formerly prevailed in NM.

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