PSThe Case for Using Extended Reach Drilling to Develop California OCS Reserves from Onshore Locations*
Search and Discovery Article #40235 (2007)
Posted May 8, 2007
*Adapted from poster presentation at AAPG Annual Convention, Long Beach, California, April 1-4, 2007. Poster presentation modified from Bjorklund (2006).
1Department of Geosciences, University of Houston, Houston, TX ([email protected])
Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates that discovered and undiscovered conventionally recoverable oil and gas resources of the Pacific OCS Region range from 14 to 19 billion BOE. In the California OCS Santa Maria and Santa Barbara-Ventura Basins, 24 offshore fields with reserves of 1.3 billion BOE have been discovered but are undeveloped because of the 1982 Federal moratorium on offshore drilling. The highside potential, including prospects in state waters, may reach 3.4 billion BOE. Very long horizontal offsets with extended reach drilling (ERD) from onshore locations may now provide an economically and environmentally acceptable alternative to offshore platforms to develop some of these reserves. Horizontal reaches of ERDs are approaching seven miles. Assuming ERD wells can develop reserves within 7 miles of the California coast, the potential exists to develop between 500 and 1000 MMBOE from onshore sites. Potential adverse effects of onshore development operations on marine biology and habitats would be mainly associated with marine seismic surveys for pre-development planning. The economic benefits to California of environmentally responsible development operations would include increased employment opportunities, an increased tax base and a windfall of royalty payments from federal lands. In spite of significant regulatory and technical hurdles to overcome, the use of ERD to develop the offshore resources of the United States should be considered in the formulation of a rational, knowledge-based energy policy.
Completed ERD project
Proposed ERD project
Possible ERD projects
1. ERD technology has the potential to develop one-third of the undeveloped petroleum reserves that lie offshore California (500 million to 1 billion BOE).
2. Potential adverse effects of onshore development operations on marine biology and habitats would be nil or short-lived and minimal, mainly associated with marine surveys for pre-development planning.
3. The economic benefits to California of environmentally responsible development operations would be huge and would include increased employment opportunities, an increased tax base, and a windfall of royalty payments from Federal lands.
4. A rational, knowledge-based national energy policy should provide for enabling legislation to develop offshore U.S. oil and gas reserves from onshore drill sites.
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