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Abstract: Gas Exploration and Development in the Gulf of Mexico: A Totally Integrated Approach to Profitability

James M. Funk

Operators in the prolific offshore Gulf of Mexico increasingly capitalize on technology and multidisciplinary teamwork to deliver significant new gas reserves. Gas opportunities range from extensions in mature fields and exploration discoveries on the shelf to significant new volumes in deepwater. In addition, recent discoveries in the sub-salt play are encouraging for the future gas potential in the Gulf of Mexico basin.

The recent resurgence in Gulf of Mexico drilling and development activity is driven by a relatively strong market for natural gas, coupled with technical factors that contribute to improving success ratios and overall project profitability through a well-integrated approach to exploring, developing, and exploiting gas reserves. Regardless of the size of the volume opportunities, the critical success factor is reduction of risk and uncertainty through development of an accurate interpretation of the subsurface. 3-D seismic integrated with well data, geologic models, amplitude analysis (including AVO), and reservoir modeling are routinely used to develop high rate well locations. Deepwater projects also focus on reservoir architecture prediction to optimally space the high ultimate volu e wells necessary to justify these higher development costs. These efforts are typically accomplished by multidiscipline teams of geoscientists and engineers working closely to optimize projects for enhanced profitability. This integrated approach has been enabled through process re-engineering and organizational changes that have significantly improved overall cost structures and project cycle times.

Case examples clearly demonstrate how integrated technical and operational approaches can lead to exceptional results from the mature Shelf and the frontier Deepwater arenas of the Gulf of Mexico.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90956©1995 AAPG International Convention and Exposition Meeting, Nice, France