Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:25 PM


BLACK, Bruce A., Black Exploration, LLC, 206 W. 38th St, Farmington, NM 87401 and BLACK, Bruce H., Black Exploration, LLC, 104 E. Twilight, Farmington, NM 87401,


Two shallow cable-tooled wells drilled in the 1920’s were the first wells to penetrate and log oil and gas shows from Cretaceous rocks in the Rio Grande Rift in north central New Mexico. Thirty-three years after these first Cretaceous tests, Humble Oil Co. drilled into the Cretaceous in 1953 in the southern end of the Albuquerque Basin. Nineteen years would then elapse before Shell Oil Co., in 1972, would again drill to the Cretaceous on a Precambrian test near the north end of the basin. In the 41 years since the deep Shell well, there have been 13 additional Cretaceous tests in the Albuquerque Basin, and 29 Cretaceous penetrations in the Espanola Basin portion of the rift. In 1986, forty (40) gravity oil was found (I.P. 40 bbls/day), produced and sold from the rift from the Codell sand (?) in southern Santa Fe County. A perfect storm of low oil prices, mechanical problems followed by subsequent County and State moratoriums on drilling, combined with overly restrictive County regulations on exploration have presently stymied development in Santa Fe, County. Every well in this portion of the rift has had documented, shows of oil and gas. Air drilled wells flared gas and burned oil on the pits while drilling the Niobrara section. Based on current fracture and horizontal drilling technology, at least 19 of these tests have the potential to produce from fractured Niobrara shale. Exploration efforts are presently focused in friendlier environments outside of Santa Fe County. In the sub-basins of the rift, both the fractured shale and deeper large conventional rift structures are being explored. Present exploration efforts are based in part on using analogs of producing rifts around the world. Giant oil fields are often preferentially located in transition zones between rift sub basins. Multiple stacked Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Tertiary reservoirs, potentially sourced by mature Cretaceous source rocks, are present on these large deeper structures. Hundred million barrel-plus potential is present. The “tracks” of a potential “Elephant” are in the Rio Grande Rift, and are being followed in the search for a possible “Giant” oil and/or gas field.