News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, April 24, 2007
LAWRENCE--One of the world's giants in natural gas production, the Hugoton Natural Gas Field in southwestern Kansas has seen production declines over the past decade. Now a report from the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas may help operators extend the life of the field and more efficiently recover the gas that remains.
The report is based on the most comprehensive investigation ever made of this massive field.
Featuring a three-dimensional computer model of the Kansas and Oklahoma portion of the Hugoton field, the report is the outcome of a two-year study. With the help of 10 industry partners, KGS scientists produced the model to help determine how much gas is left in the field and where it is located.
Based on the model, researchers estimate 65% of the gas may have been removed from the field since its discovery in 1922. That's 35 trillion cubic feet of gas from about 12,000 wells in both states. In the 1960s the field regularly produced 600 billion cubic feet annually. After years of steady decline, however, the Hugoton produced less than half that--just over 250 billion cubic feet--in 2006.
Most of the remaining natural gas is in less permeable rock layers where the gas moves more slowly and can be more difficult to produce.
"This model is a tool to identify intervals and areas where gas still resides, and the next step is to determine how to do a better job of producing it," said Martin Dubois, Survey geologist and one of six co-authors of the report. "It provides information for better reservoir management and a higher ultimate recovery for the field, which is important economically for the state of Kansas."
The Hugoton field has long been a major source of royalties, tax revenue, and other income generated in 10 counties of southwestern Kansas.
Prior studies have been published on the Hugoton, but all have focused on specific geographic areas or rock units. This is the first comprehensive report to cover the entire Kansas and Oklahoma Hugoton gas area and its many geologic layers. Besides enriching the Hugoton's prospects, the studies findings can be applied to similar gas reservoirs worldwide.
The current Hugoton study followed the five-year KGS Hugoton Project. The primary focus of that earlier project was to build a comprehensive data set of well information. That data, along with previously proprietary well data provided by the industry partners, was used to create the new Hugoton model.
"Working together with the oil and gas industry, we are able to make the best use of our natural resources," said KGS scientist and co-author Alan Byrnes. "A lot of the information our industry partners provided, such as core and pressure data, was previously not available. Having it was absolutely critical."
The Kansas portion of the Hugoton natural gas area in this report includes the Hugoton field and the Panoma field, which is located beneath the Hugoton. The two have been treated as separate fields, but the new study shows that they are one large reservoir.
The Hugoton report is available on the Kansas Geological Survey Website at www.kgs.ku.edu/PRS/publication/2007/OFR07_06/index.html.