Spraberry Formation, Permian Basin

General Setting 

The Spraberry Formation of Permian Leonard age was named after the first well drilled on the A. J. Spraberry lease in Dawson County, Texas within what later became the Spraberry Field (McLennan and Bradley, 1951). The formation is located in the southern Midland Basin and is a major oil-producing formation, accounting for more than 700 million barrels of oil as of 1997 (Tyler et al., 1997). The heterogeneous submarine-fan reservoirs are mostly stratigraphically trapped in mid-fan to distal fan sediments. The fan systems could be a target for carbon dioxide storage investigation, but the heterogeneity could cause baffles to flow or otherwise limit the overall capacity of carbon storage. The oil-producing horizons have low permeability and owe their production to dense natural vertical fractures (Farrington, 1953). The low porosity found in the reservoir is attributed to extensive epigenetic cementation (Dada, 2014). The Spraberry provides an analog for a target of high-interest globally for exploration: fine-grained, mud-rich offshore fan systems (Tyler et al., 1997). More depositional history of the formation can be found in Tyler et al. (1997). The Spraberry Formation has a similar depositional history to the underlying Dean Formation. A more extensive literature review of the Spraberry Formation can be found in Dada (2014).



Dada, O. 2014. Reservoir characterization of the Spraberry Formation, Borden County, West Texas. University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Master’s dissertation.

Farrington, W.B. 1953. The geology and fracturing of the Spraberry Formation in Midland, Glasscock, Upton, And Reagan Counties, West Texas. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD dissertation.

McLennan, L., Jr., Bradley, H.W. 1951. Spraberry and Dean Sandstones of West Texas 1: Geological Notes. AAPG Bulletin (1951) 35 (4): 899–908. doi: 10.1306/3D9341FF-16B1-11D7-8645000102C1865D.

Tyler,  N., Gholston, J. C., and Guevara, E. H. 1997. Basin Morphological Controls on Submarine-Fan Depositional Trends: Spraberry Sandstone, Permian Basin, Texas: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Geological Circular 97-6, 43 p. doi: 10.23867/gc9706D.


Prepared by Emily Moskal, 2020.

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