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Abstract: Field Development Stimulates New Exploration, Jeanne d'Arc Basin, Offshore Newfoundland

MCINTOSH, R.A., Petro-Canada

The Hibernia and Terra Nova fields were discovered in 1979 and 1983, respectively. Due to the harsh operational environment, economic uncertainties and engineering challenges, first oil at Hibernia was not produced until November, 1997 and first oil at Terra Nova is not scheduled until 2001.

The Jeanne d'Arc Basin is situated on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The opening of the North Atlantic Ocean and the resulting three major rift events led to the deposition of a prolific Kimmeridgian source interval and excellent Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous sandstone reservoirs.

The Hibernia field is a large, faulted ‘rollover anticline'. Two separate Lower Cretaceous reservoir zones will be depleted and, in addition, there is oil in Upper Jurassic sandstones. Oil is pooled in Upper Jurassic, structural/stratigraphic reservoirs at Terra Nova.

Similar to many other areas around the world, the infrastructure and confidence that project start-up brings to the Jeanne d'Arc Basin has led to renewed exploration. This can be seen by trends in exploration drilling, 3-D seismic surveys, exploration budgets, exploration manpower, land postings and longer term commitments to drilling rigs. As Hibernia and Terra Nova approached first oil, all stakeholders, including the regulators, had a vested interest in resolving outstanding issues, so that controllable exploration uncertainties could be reduced.

The proximity of nearby facilities allows smaller exploration targets to be pursued. Participants in development projects have a competitive advantage over non-participants, since project and manpower efficiencies can reduce the economic threshold of both stand alone and “add-in” opportunities.

Confidence in the potential of the Jeanne d'Arc Basin and the projections that the economic threshold will continue to decrease have led to the shooting of expensive 3-D seismic surveys prior to the spudding of exploration wells. These have also led to a renewed interest in exploration plays that were considered too risky in the past. Coupled with technological advances, this is how the remaining oil endowment for the Jeanne d'Arc Basin will be discovered. As exploration and development continue, the economic threshold for the gas reserves in the Basin may also be reached.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90937©1998 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Salt Lake City, Utah