The San Juan Basin has one of the largest accumulations of natural gas in the United States, and possibly the world. The San Juan Basin Energy Conference is sponsored by the San Juan College School of Energy, San Juan County, Farmington Chamber of Commerce and New Mexico Center for Energy Policy (a division of New Mexico Tech).
The conference objective is to explore energy production, natural gas, and energy alternatives. Speakers will address the Mancos Shale as an emerging play alongside the Utica shale of Ohio and currently worked Eagle Ford, Barnett, Marcellus and Bakken shale’s which have transformed “unconventional” into “conventional” in less than six years.
The San Juan Basin Energy Conference was founded to provide a forum for exchange of ideas regarding the development of the abundant energy resources found in the region. The focus of this year’s conference will be the Mancos Shale. The knowledge of the immense hydrocarbon resources in this formation along with the recent improvements in technology required to produce it are now coming together. The early results of Mancos shale development have captured the attention of the petroleum industry, and it is anticipated that the San Juan Basin will continue to supply vital resources that this country requires.
In 1911, Oil was discovered accidentally at Seven Lakes in McKinley County, NM. This being the initial show of liquid hydrocarbons in the San Juan Basin did little to herald what the next century would bring. While Oil was found in the Mancos Shale as early as 1951, the San Juan Basin was known more for being the location of the most productive coal bed methane field ever developed. The San Juan basin has been declared “over” many times in the last century, and every time, technology has proved these forecasters wrong.
The Mancos Shale is the one of the largest single shale deposits in the Western United States. The Mancos shale is known by other names such as the Niobrara, Baxter, and Hilliard. It was laid down 100 million years ago when the Cretaceous seaway inundated the area now roughly known as the Rocky Mountains when they were below sea level.
As recently as 10 years ago, the production of the vast petroleum reserves from shale was the purview of PhD’s and lab researchers using cutting edge geochemical, thermal, and sonic research. Extraction of these entombed hydrocarbons had the potential to stave off the potential crisis that was on the horizon from the dwindling supplies of this lifeblood of the industrialized world. The resource potential of shale has always been known, however a cost effective method to produce them eluded the experts in the field for decades.
Mitchell Energy tenaciously perused economic production from the Barnett shale of North Texas to literally change the global dynamics of petroleum production. Shale formations have produced hydrocarbons as far back as 1825 from shadow low pressure reservoirs in New York. Hydraulic Fracturing Technology, in use since the 1950’s, has advanced to the point where we can now create what nature has not provided. The development of shale resources is no less revolutionary than the tri-cone bit or the advent of directional drilling as the world’s demand for these resources continues to increase.