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Open-file Report - 567
Reasonable foreseeable development (RFD) for northern New Mexico

Thomas W. Engler, Shari Kelley, and Martha Cather


In the 2004 RFD it was noted that most existing Mancos Shale and Gallup Sandstone reservoirs were approaching depletion, producing less than 30 barrels of oil per month per well, and as a result were marginally economic, and candidates to be P&A in the near future. The conclusion was a minimal number of predicted new completions in the Gallup/Mancos play.

However, recent successes in the exploration and development for oil in U.S. shale plays have resulted in a significant increase in domestic oil production. The Bakken in North Dakota, the Eagle Ford Shale of Texas, and the Avalon/Bone Spring of Southeast New Mexico are all examples of major shale plays contributing to the increase in oil production. As a result, the Gallup/ Mancos Play has become of interest as a major target for future exploration and development. A recent article (ABQ Journal, Nov 3, 2011) suggests 1.5 billion barrels of oil recoverable from this play. Latest successes with standalone horizontal Mancos shale development wells have led the industry in expressing more interest in developing the play using horizontal well development and stimulation techniques. The current focus area is the higher BTU, liquids rich regime generally located on the basin fringe and the Chaco slope, encompassing thousands of acres.

This study will collect and analyze geological and engineering evidence, including capturing recent horizontal well development, to determine the potential subsurface development of the Gallup/Mancos play. In addition, associated surface impact of this development in terms of actual wells drilled, water usage and expanded infrastructure will be estimated.

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