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Circular 206—Hydrocarbon resources at Wipp site, New Mexico

By R. F. Broadhead, F. Luo, S. W. Speer, and P. C. Anselmo, 1998, 82 pp., 25 tables, 77 figs., 7 sheets. Companion to Circular 207.

This report presents the results of a comprehensive estimate of the volume of oil and natural-gas resource underlying the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) land withdrawal area, which surrounds the WIPP site. The WIPP site is an underground repository for the storage of radioactive waste. The WIPP land withdrawal area occupies a 16 mi2 area centered on the WIPP site. It is located approximately 30 miles southeast of Carlsbad in the east-central Eddy County, New Mexico. An additional one-mile-wide area surrounding the land withdrawal area was also evaluated.

The amount of natural resources underlying the WIPP land withdrawal area had not been evaluated for more than 10 years. The oil and gas situation of the area around WIPP changed dramatically between the time the previous estimates were made and the time when this study was undertaken. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, several oil and gas fields were discovered underneath lands adjacent to the land withdrawal area. The more prominent fields discovered during this time periods are the Livingston Ridge, Lost Tank, Los Medanos, and Cabin Lake. Their discovery turned previously unproductive lands into one of the most active oil and gas plays in the onshore U.S. With the approach of the opening of WIPP as a nuclear repository, the need for a current estimate was made imperative by these recent discoveries of oil and gas.

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