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Introduction, Purpose, and Scope

Oil production in the United States is steadily declining, while consumption and imports are steadily increasing. In September of 1985 the nation produced over 8,900,000 barrels of oil per day. By December of 1992, production dropped to 7,060,000 barrels per day. Imports have risen from 26% of demand in March of 1985 to over 47% in December, 1992. During 1992, the import to demand ratio frequently exceeded 50%. To help mitigate the decline in U.S. oil production, the United States Department of Energy (USDOE) has initiated programs designed to prevent premature abandonment of the national petroleum resource. These programs enable and encourage development of innovative technologies, and promote the transfer and application of technologies to petroleum operators of all sizes, but especially independent operators. Independent operators now dominate the domestic petroleum industry. Through these methods, the USDOE intends that significant additional production that otherwise would be lost forever will be recovered from known reservoirs.

One of the most effective methods to gain additional production from known reserves and prevent the premature abandonment of wells is to provide independent producers with the keys to successful reservoir characterization and production practices for their type of reservoir. These keys include geological characterization and engineering methods that are useful for gaining additional recovery from specific reservoir types. For example, a key for one type of reservoir might be sophisticated, inexpensive ways to identify unswept compartments; and for another field type the key might be optional and optimal techniques for additional workover, completion, and production practices that have been successful in analog fields.

Short of conducting a full-scale reservoir analysis of each producing field, an efficient and effective method of communicating this type of key information to operators is by example. For each reservoir type in a producing region, a thoroughly studied and documented analog can illustrate which geologic and engineering procedures are likely to be most successful in increasing ultimate recovery. An analog example provides operators with sufficient information and procedures to study their own producing fields, and increase production and ultimate recovery by copying and applying proven methods. One way to accomplish the goal of disseminating information by analog is to provide a geological and engineering based, state-of-the-art, petroleum atlas that contains not only historical data and descriptions, but technologically advanced syntheses and analyses of "why reservoirs produce" and "how ultimate production may be increased."

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Kesas Geological Survey, Digital Petroleum Atlas
Updated June 1996
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