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Circular 4—The Hobbs Field and Other Oil and Gas Areas, Lea County, New Mexico

By D. E. Winchester, 1931, 18 pp., 5 tables, 3 plates. Includes information about the NM Bureau of Mines from July 1, 1927 to June 30, 1931.

The bringing in of State No. 1 well in sec 9 T19S R38E by the Midwest Refining Company in June, 1928, started a drilling campaign which resulted in the development of the Hobbs field. On January 1, 1931, this pool had a rated potential production of 1,081,575 barrels of oil per day with large additional amounts of gas and some oil in upper beds shut off. The Hobbs field is located only a few miles from the eastern line of the state on the great Llano Estacado of NM and Texas. The surface is relatively "as flat as a floor," there being less than 100 ft difference in the surface elevation of the more than 130 wells so far drilled in an area some 7 mi long and 3 mi wide.The bringing in of State No. 1 well in sec 9 T19S R38E by the Midwest Refining Company in June, 1928, started a drilling campaign which resulted in the development of the Hobbs field. On January 1, 1931, this pool had a rated potential production of 1,081,575 barrels of oil per day with large additional amounts of gas and some oil in upper beds shut off. The Hobbs field is located only a few miles from the eastern line of the state on the great Llano Estacado of NM and Texas. The surface is relatively "as flat as a floor," there being less than 100 ft difference in the surface elevation of the more than 130 wells so far drilled in an area some 7 mi long and 3 mi wide.

The commercial development and production of oil in southeastern NM dates back to the opening of the Artesia pool in Eddy County, west of Lea County, in 1924. Little attention was paid to Lea County at that time, probably due largely to the fact that the surface gave little evidence as to deep seated geologic structure. With the development of the large fields in Winkler County, TX, to the south however, eyes were turned to the heretofore uninviting area northward in Lea County, and extensive studies were undertaken to determine whether or not the general north-south trend evident in the TX fields carried through into NM. The drilling which followed these studies resulted in the discovery in 1927 of 90,000,000 ft3 of gas by the Texas Production Company in its No. 1 Rhodes well in the Jal area of Lea County. Considerable scattered wildcating was commenced farther north.

In addition to studying in detail the rock formations at their outcrop and the meager evidences of geological structure in the area, the Midwest Refining Company, among others, made geophysical surveys with both magnetometer and torsion balance. These investigations furnished evidences of a structural high in the vicinity of the present town of Hobbs, then many miles from the nearest railroad and without highway connections. On October 12, 1927, the Midwest spudded in what was to be the discovery well of the great Hobbs pool. Obviously this well, located near the NE corner, was thought to be located at the most favorable place, for at that time the Midwest was essentially the only company interested in prospecting this particular area. In June, 1928, at a depth of 4,065 ft, the well showed for 200 barrels of 32.50 Baume oil, having had numerous shows of gas and some oil at higher levels. The well was given a production test and then drilled a little deeper and tested again. By the first of December, 1928, the hole had been carried to 4,214 ft, where it tested an average of around 700 barrels of oil per day. At 4,245 ft, however, sulfur water was encountered which nearly ruined the well. The well was finally plugged back to 4,215 ft. At first, it yielded 100 barrels per day, but later the production increased somewhat.

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