The integration of improved seismic technologies and new geologic structural and stratigraphic models can often revitalize a prospect. This is a case history of the Hickory subsalt prospect in offshore Louisiana where 3-D raytrace modeling, new geologic structural and depositional models, and improved seismic processing techniques were employed. They developed a prospect which when drilled became Hickory Field.
In 1994, Anadarko and Phillips drilled the Teak prospect, which was a non-commercial subsalt discovery. Initial mapping showed the Hickory prospect to be a synclinally separated look-alike, with little potential for better sand development.
Improvements in seismic imaging, notably a 3-D prestack depth migration, allowed the base of salt to be accurately re-interpreted and showed the minibasin to be open to the northeast, toward the potential sand sources. A new depositional model was developed in which deepwater turbidite sands were transported into the basin from the northeast, making Hickory prospect potentially more sand-prone. Empirical models supported the likelihood of increased sand presence as compared to the Teak area.
The improved seismic imaging also revealed several amplitude anomalies. A raytrace modeling study was undertaken to better understand these amplitude anomalies and therefore reduce exploration risk. Comparing modeled results to the existing 3-D prestack depth migrated seismic dataset enabled us to high-grade the initial location and make the exploratory well a success.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90908©2000 GCAGS, Houston, Texas