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Shell to probe N. Raton's deep Pennsylvanian

Shell Western Exploration & Production Inc. will drill the deepest wildcat yet in the northern part of the Raton basin in southeastern Colorado.

The company listed a proposed depth of 14,493 ft for its 2-19 Klikus, in 24-29s-69w, Huerfano County, 2 miles west of La Veta, Colo. Primary objectives are Pennsylvanian sands, zones never before tested in the region, according to IHS Inc.

The location is about 20 miles northwest of shallow coalbed methane and shale gas production in western Las Animas County and 50 miles south of Sheep Mountain carbon dioxide field in northern Huerfano County.

Ron Broadhead, principal petroleum geologist at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources in Socorro, said Shell’s Pennsylvanian exploration might be aimed at what he calls an “elevator basin.” Sparse evidence to the south in the New Mexico part of the Raton basin suggests that an elevator basin underlies the western part of the Raton basin in Colorado, Broadhead said.

But Shell, which is producing gas from and further exploring low-permeability Pennsylvanian rocks in the Tucumcari basin in east-central New Mexico, would be unable to lease the deeper parts of the Raton basin in New Mexico because an El Paso Corp. affiliate owns the minerals in most of that area, Broadhead points out.

Broadhead has touched on the deep Pennsylvanian play in Open-File Report 510, Natural Gas Potential of North-Central New Mexico, and on the AAPG Search and Discovery website.


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