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Abstract: Using Production-Based Plays in the Northern Gulf of Mexico as a Hydrocarbon Exploration Tool

G. L. Lore, E. C. Batchelder

The Minerals Management Service has described more than 100 plays in the northern Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf encompassing approximately 1,100 fields and over 9,500 productive sands. Plays are defined by a combination of production, chronostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy, and structural style. Cumulative production from these plays as of December 1993 is 9.01 billion barrels of oil and 107.7 trillion cubic feet of gas, with remaining proved reserves of 2.14 billion barrels of oil and 29.1 trillion cubic feet of gas. The information associated with these plays can be used by explorationists as a qualitative tool to target areas of potential exploration interest and as a quantitative tool to test the potential economic viability of both plays and individual prospects. Specific examples of each of these potential uses are provided.

Qualitatively, the play maps target areas for future exploration in two ways. The first is to identify conceptual deep-sea fan plays located downdip from plays established in sediments of shallow water depositional environments. The second is to emphasize areas for both future exploration and infill potential around and within established plays.

The extensive data sets associated with each play provide valuable quantitative information that can be used to assess the possible number and size of undiscovered accumulations in a play of exploration interest. At the individual prospect level, data related to each productive sand and pool can be used to perform detailed geologic and economic evaluations.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90955©1995 GCAGS 45th Annual Meeting and Gulf Section SEPM, Baton Rouge, Louisiana