Region: Northern Midcontinent
Cambridge Arch/Central Kansas Uplift Province
This description of the Cambridge Arch/Central Kansas Uplift Province is from the U. S. Geological Survey 1995 National Assessment of United States Oil and Gas Resources (available on CD-ROM from the U.S.G.S. as Digital Data Series DDS-30, Release 2).
by Debra K. Higley
The Cambridge Arch/Central Kansas Uplift Province is located in west-central Kansas and in western Nebraska; the area covers about 37,000 sq mi. The province is named after two northwest-trending uplifts which approximately bisect the province and are its most prominent tectonic features. The Cambridge Arch in Nebraska is bounded on the southeast and northwest, respectively, by the Central Kansas Uplift, and by the Chadron Arch of the Denver Basin Province. The Central Kansas Uplift is located in the Kansas portion of the province.
Oil and gas exploration and the largest, most productive oil and gas fields are concentrated along these anticlinal structures. The location and size of reservoirs are influenced by the creation of structural traps through uplift, erosional truncation of producing formations, and deposition of overlying low-permeability seal units, all tectonically related. Erosion during Late Mississippian-Early Pennsylvanian time created numerous topographic features and stratigraphic conditions favorable for trapping oil and gas (Merriam, 1963). Geologic history of the province includes periods of uplift and erosion during Paleozoic and Mesozoic time and repeated marine transgressions and regressions that resulted in the cyclic deposition of Pennsylvanian sandstone and carbonate sediments.
The six conventional petroleum plays assessed for this province were divided primarily by age of producing sediments. They are Permian Play, Mississippian and Devonian Play, Pennsylvanian Cyclical Carbonates and Sandstones Play, Ordovician Play, and Early Ordovician/Cambrian Arbuckle Play. Several plays within and bordering this province are described and assessed in the Denver Basin Province; they are Niobrara Chalk- Shallow Biogenic Gas Play, Dakota Group (Combined J and D Sandstones) Play, and Permian Pennsylvanian Play.
Two plays are the source of most oil and gas production in the province. The first, Pennsylvanian Cyclical Carbonates and Sandstones Play (5305), produces mainly from carbonates with lesser production from sandstone and conglomerate. The second principal play is Early Ordovician/Cambrian Arbuckle Play, producing from dolomite of the Arbuckle Formation and the Reagan Sandstone. The lesser production and potential realized from the other plays are largely due to erosion over tectonic structures and associated less favorable reservoir traps and seals. Exploration and development are active in the province and smaller fields are still being discovered, although most of the larger fields were found by the 1950's (Newell and others, 1987).
The first hole drilled in the province (1915) was dry and this suggests the well was productive. The earliest field discovery, in 1923, was the Fairport oil field which has produced 56.072 MMBO from Pennsylvanian-age Lansing-Kansas City Group carbonate rock (Walters, 1991). The three largest fields in the province are located along the axis of the Central Kansas Uplift; these are Bemis-Shutts (1928), Chase-Silica (1931), and Trapp (1936). Cumulative production (through 1990) in order for the three fields are (1) 242 MMBO, (2) 268 MMBO and 7.6 BCFG, and (3) 228 MMBO and 0.248 BCFG.
Scientists affiliated with the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and from various State geological surveys contributed significantly to play concepts and definitions. Their contributions are gratefully acknowledged.
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