In 2003, Miller Energy entered a joint venture with Wolverine Oil and Gas, and other partners, to explore for hydrocarbons in the Central Utah Thrust Belt, or “Hingeline.” The 2004 discovery of the Covenant Field proved that this region contains the appropriate components for large accumulations of oil. To date, 20 wells are producing in the Covenant Field and the oil in place is estimated at being greater than 100 million barrels, with an estimated recovery factor of forty percent.
The Central Utah Hingeline has seen cycles of petroleum exploration for the past 50 years since explorers viewed the geology as a natural extension of productive thrust belt-style structures in northern Utah and southwestern Wyoming. Early unsuccessful efforts tested anticlines identified from surface mapping and seismic reflection data. The lack of a Cretaceous source seemingly was to blame for these failures.
Wolverine’s discovery well, the 17-1 Kings Meadow Ranch, hit approximately 500 feet of Navajo Sandstone pay in Utah’s Sevier County in late 2003. The company’s Covenant area of interest is a strip about 75 miles long and 20-30 miles wide along the Central Utah Overthrust. Wolverine began producing the Covenant discovery well in May 2004, and its second well in September 2004. Covenant wells produce high-quality, 40-degree gravity crude and show a very low gas-to-oil ratio.
While the Covenant Field is the most prolific discovery to date in this joint venture, Miller Energy and partners continue to drill wildcat wells in pursuit of another field.