[FoRK] "The experiments ..."

J.Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Sun Sep 26 23:22:52 PDT 2004

On Sep 20, 2004, at 12:16 PM, Dave Long wrote:
> Good luck with it, then.  Around here,
> there are plenty of alluvial oil seeps
> (it's difficult to go to the beach and
> not wind up with tar heels) but to get
> to any drilling one must go many miles
> south, where the rigs stretch out both
> out to sea and inland in a long linear
> pattern, presumably overlying a decent
> trap structure.

Mineral rights are hard to come by in such a gold rich region anyway.

I believe most of the operating oil wells in Nevada were discovered 
accidentally while prospecting for gold i.e. drill a bore looking for 
gold and getting a bunch of oil instead.  I know that with the current 
gold exploration models it happens more often than it used to, though 
rarely in commercially interesting quantities.  Several gold bores in 
the region of my property have pulled substantial oil -- one can google 
a few public geological reports that discuss it -- though none under 
consideration for commercial exploitation that I'm aware of.  The DoE 
site says there are 71 wells producing 500-600M barrels of oil per year 
in Nevada; not a lot but more than many people expect.

The subsurface geology is chaotic and unpredictable, and what oil they 
do find doesn't fit well into standard exploration models anyway.  
Consequently, most companies go after lower hanging fruit elsewhere.

Related, the extremely chaotic subsurface characteristics of the region 
are also why the water systems and aquifers have never been fully 
mapped.  There are hundreds of poorly understood high-quality 
micro-aquifers that can be tapped in many places that do not 
substantially interact with the main water systems.  There is actually 
a lot of interest in this, since Nevada has very limited water 
resources from its main water systems.  As an example, my ranch 
property there sits on an isolated micro-aquifer that yields an 
estimated 5k foot-acres per year, which the State doesn't even list as 
a water resource.  There has been some study of mapping and developing 
all this small, isolated, and mostly unused aquifers but they are 
difficult to exploit effectively unless you are right on top of them.


j. andrew rogers

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