LAWRENCE — The nearly 1,800 new oil and natural gas fields named in Kansas between 2009 and early 2019 are now featured — along with more than 6,000 fields discovered earlier — on an updated series of maps available from the Kansas Geological Survey.
The series includes 12 regional maps, each covering about 90-by-55 miles and named for cities within its perimeters, including Wichita, Dodge City, Goodland, and Lawrence. Oil and gas field locations and names as well as geographic names and boundaries are shown on the maps. All 7,818 field locations also appear on a revised wall-sized map of the entire state.
“These maps show, at a glance, where oil and gas has been discovered and produced in Kansas and where it hasn’t,” said Mike Dealy, manager of the KGS office in Wichita. “They provide useful information for the oil and gas industry, landowners, mineral-right owners, researchers and the public.”
Kansas became a significant oil-producing state with the discovery of the El Dorado field northeast of Wichita in 1915. The maps illustrate that a bulk of the subsequent oil-producing fields stretch from south-central Kansas to northwest of Hays along the Central Kansas Uplift, a subsurface geologic structure. Ellis County, which includes Hays, has been the state’s top producing county in all but three of the last 52 years.
Since the maps were last revised in 2009, much of the new oil and gas activity has been along the Oklahoma border, mainly in Harper and Sumner counties. In 2013, increased drilling activity from a subsurface group of petroleum-bearing rocks known as the Mississippian Limestone play crossed the state line into Kansas.
“During the boom in south-central Kansas, more than 700 wells were drilled in a tier of counties just north of the Oklahoma state line between 2013 and 2015,” said Dave Newell, KGS geologist. “Both oil and natural gas production in the area escalated rapidly.”
Production in the south-central region has since slowed significantly due to the geologic characteristics of the Mississippian Limestone play.
The greatest concentration of natural gas production on the maps is in southwest Kansas in the Hugoton Gas Area, once the largest natural gas field in North America. Production there peaked in 1970 before declining, largely due to depletion.
“Unlike the 2009 map, which did not differentiate between the Hugoton Gas Area and the deeper Panoma Gas Area, the 2019 map shows the boundaries of each,” said KGS cartographer John Dunham.
Underlying much of southwest Kansas, the Hugoton and Panoma produce from different formations at different depths.
The newly revised maps also now include the boundaries of two large coalbed gas areas in eastern Kansas, where natural gas is produced from shallow coalbeds. In the early 2000s gas production in those areas increased as natural gas prices rose. After prices peaked in 2008, production there declined.
The Kansas Geological Survey is a research and service division of the University of Kansas. Its main headquarters, in Lawrence, is the repository for the more than 450,000 oil and gas records submitted or donated to the state. The KGS Wichita office maintains geologic samples from more than 144,000 oil, gas and exploratory wells drilled in Kansas. Data for fields and individual wells are available through an online interactive oil and gas map at http://maps.kgs.ku.edu/oilgas/index.cfm.
The new regional oil and gas fields maps and statewide map are available from the Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047-3724 (phone 785-864-3965) and at 4150 W. Monroe St., Wichita, KS 67209-2640 (phone 316-943-2343).
Cost is $10 per regional map and $20 for the statewide map, plus shipping and handling. Inquire about shipping and handling charges and, for Kansas residents, sales tax.
Top image: Pump jack in Russell County.
Right images: Maps available from the KGS featuring oil and gas fields of Kansas and the Great Bend and Pratt quadrangles (larger images available). Credit: Kansas Geological Survey.