Much of the recent success going on today in the
Applachian Basin can be traced to old Trenton-Black River fields
- some of which are giants in the annals of oil industry lore.
The first Trenton-Black River fields were drilled
in what is today called the Lima-Indiana Trend of Ohio and Indiana.
America's first real oil boom began in this region, where the Trenton-Black
River is only about 1,400 feet deep.
The trend is around 260 miles long and varies in
width, from less than one mile in parts of Ohio to greater than
50 miles in central Indiana. Over the years the Lima-Indiana trend
has produced an estimated 500 million barrels of oil from around
100,000 wells, according to Brian D. Keith with the Indiana Geological
About half of that production is from the linear,
highly dolomitized Bowling Green fault zone.
The trend is geologically controlled by the Findlay
and Cincinnati arches, which are board positive areas separating
the Appalachian Basin from the Michigan and Illinois basins.
In 1917 the first Trenton-Black River field in Ontario
was found just across Lake Erie from the northern margins of the
Lima-Indiana trend. The Dover Field, an extension of the Lima-Indiana
trend, has produced from 2,800 to 3,200 feet from a dolomitized
zone in the Trenton-Black River.
Activity in Ontario has continued off and on up through
today, according to a paper presented at the 2000 AAPG Eastern Section
meeting by T.R. Carter with the Petroleum Resources Centre of the
Ministry of Natural Resources in London, Ontario.
Ordovician pools currently account for 75 percent
of Ontario's annual oil production of approximately 1.5 million
barrels of oil and an increasing proportion of natural gas, with
cumulative production of over 15 million barrels of oil and 23 billion
cubic feet of gas by the end of 1999.
Recoverable reserves in individual pools range up
to three million barrels of oil at an average depth of 800 meters.
Current activity is centered in eastern Essex County and the southern
part of Kent County. In the past five years 120 Trenton-Black River
wells have been drilled in this region, resulting in 70 oil wells
and one gas well.
Over the past two years most of the wells in the
play have been drilled horizontally, including beneath Lake Erie.
River Albion-Scipio Field discovery in southern Michigan grabbed
everyone's attention in the late 1950s. The giant field has produced
over 200 million barrels of oil from around 4,000 feet.
The discovery well was drilled on the advise of a
psychic who had "seen" in a dream the property owner walking on
her farm with sticky stuff on her hands.
However, the real excitement was touched off several
months later when a well was shut in after it encountered lost circulation
at 3,769 feet, just below the top of the Trenton. Craters began
to form around the location as the well was allowed to flow unrestricted
for 25 hours.
According to reports the well produced an estimated
15 million cubic feet of gas and 4,000 barrels of oil a day.
Still, the Albion-Scipio was not an easy field to
develop. The field is 30 miles long but just a maximum of one mile
wide. In fact, it was so difficult to explore that the Stoney Point
Field, a smaller but analogous reservoir located just five miles
east of Albion-Scipio, wasn't discovered until 25 years later.
"For years people have looked for analogous areas
to these big fields, but without much luck until Columbia's success
in New York," Keith said. "That success has come through a combination
of understanding the settings under which the Trenton-Black River
is productive, and advances in seismic technology."