page content

Anadarko "Super" Basin: Eight Key Characteristics to Understand Productivity

Tuesday, 21 July 2020, 12:35 p.m.–1:25 p.m.  |  Austin, Texas

short course image

Course Content

  • Richard Fritz, AAPG President 2020-21

Twenty-five basins worldwide are identified as “Super Basins,” defined as a basin containing multiple reservoirs and source rocks with cumulative production of at least 5 BBOE and future production potential of more than 5 BBOE. By this definition the Anadarko Basin is a Super Basin as it has produced close to 50 BBOE from multiple Paleozoic reservoirs. There are at least eight unique geoscience elements that contribute to oil and gas productivity in the Anadarko Basin. The most important are its source rocks, especially the dominant Woodford shale estimated to have generated and expelled more than 300 BBOE since Mississippian time. Second, the initiation of the basin along the abandoned arm of a failed rift resulted in 40,000 ft. of Paleozoic sediment with multiple reservoirs. Based on the burial history and lack of significant inversion Anadarko Basin source rocks are mostly in the mature window. Other key elements are the left-lateral, north–south basement strike-slip fault system that provides strong facture overprint and multiple migration pathways into good local and regional seals to develop multiple trap styles. The basin has an overall positive paragenetic history that allows for good reservoir development, and multiple overpressured cells assist in well performance. As a result, the Anadarko Basin has a copious conventional and evolving non-conventional production history. This study encompasses the “Greater Anadarko Basin” which includes western Oklahoma, western Kansas, southeastern Colorado, and the Texas Panhandle. This area contains 46 giant oil fields defined by AAPG by a minimum of 100 MMBOE of cumulative production. This includes the Oklahoma City and Panhandle fields plus the giant Hugoton embayment complex. According to IHS, conventional cumulative production is at least ~15 MMBO and 170 TCFG. More than 50% of the total oil production is from Penn–Permian age rocks although as much as 24% is from the Cambro–Ordovician. Gas production is dominated by the Permian with more than 44% of total and the Pennsylvanian Morrowan–Desmoinesian account for 24% of total. The next 50 BBOE of production will most likely be with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The Carboniferous to Devonian sections in the Anadarko Basin contain prime reservoirs for resource plays, particularly in Hunton carbonates, Woodford Shale, Mississippian Osage chert/Meramec shale, plus multiple Pennsylvanian clastics and carbonates. Several mature resource plays are in the early stage of density production drilling—the Woodford Shale in SCOOP, the Meramec shale in STACK proper, Pennsylvanian granite wash in front of the Wichita Uplift, and significant areas of Mississippi “lime” in northern Oklahoma. In addition, there is significant gas potential in Pennsylvanian sandstones and the Woodford Shale, especially in the deeper portions of the basin. Another item that makes a “Super Basin” is accessibility. The Anadarko Basin has proven above-ground conditions that contribute to realizing its full resource potential. One of the top conditions is excellent infrastructure with multiple pipelines, close connectivity to the Cushing oil complex, and active vendors.

In addition, the states within the greater Anadarko Basin have petroleum-friendly political establishment at state, county and local levels along sensible state laws and commission rules to encourage resource development. Technological development and access is another key aspect of the Anadarko Basin. Due to a more-than 100 years of activity most of the key technological advances were tested in the basin from rotary drilling to reflection seismic.

Included with Registration


Austin, TX
Austin, Texas
United States


Alejandro Lerza
Alejandro Lerza Moderator Chevron, Argentina