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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 98-46

Report to United States Department of Interior, National Park Service: Petroleum Geology and Oil and Gas Operations in Chase County with Emphasis on the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Timothy R. Carr
KGS Open File Report 98-46
October 15, 1998


The petroleum geology of Chase County is dominated by the 20-km wide Nemaha uplift that extends in a north-northeast direction across the county and through the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. In Chase County, as elsewhere along the Nemaha uplift, Middle Pennsylvanian (Desmoinsian) sediments overlie rocks ranging from Precambrian to Mississippian. The uplift is the most important component in both structural and stratigraphic trapping of oil and gas in Chase County. The discovery in 1914 of prolific oil fields along the trend of the Nemaha uplift in Butler County, Kansas, set off a drilling boom that rapidly extended northward into Chase County. Many of the oil and gas fields in Chase County were discovered in the 1920's as part of this spurt of activity. On the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, gas production is from very shallow reservoirs (200 to 400 feet), and was developed by local efforts for use by surrounding ranches and cities. Until recently, reporting gas production from small non-prorated fields was not required. As a result, well locations, well production, and well history including final abandonment, are known only from scattered and incomplete records. Based on subsurface mapping, the potential for additional oil and gas reserves on the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is believed to be high. Cumulative oil and gas production for Chase County is estimated at 2,550 thousand barrels of oil (MBO) and 6,315 million cubic feet of gas (MMCF).

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Kansas Geological Survey, Energy Research
Placed online August 10, 2011
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