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ABSTRACT: Global ranking of deep-water exploration potential: deep-water sandstone plays

Reaves, Christopher M. , ExxonMobil, Dallas, TX

Hydrocarbon occurrence and regional geology data have been used to rank and classify the exploration potential of deep-water sandstone plays in areas with water depths greater than 400 meters. A ranking tree was generated by ordering deep-water provinces with proven deep-water sandstone plays according to a selected set of shared attributes. The attributes were weighted relative to frequency of occurrence and used to create a scoring system that ranks deep-water provinces according to their potential to contain a commercial deep-water sandstone play. The proven deep-water hydrocarbon provinces were also classified according to geologic criteria on tectonic environment, stratigraphy and clastic sediment supply mechanisms. This classification was used to create analog families sharing common geological attributes and, by inference, processes. Discovered reserves are concentrated in two analog family groupings: rifted basins with salt and basins with large to medium scale active river deltas. These analog families provide an effective means to identify prospective provinces and then leverage detailed knowledge from well-explored provinces to focus on critical success factors and technologies in unexplored and under-explored provinces.

For eastern and southern Asia, deep-water provinces with the highest potential for commercial deep-water sandstone plays are predominantly associated with active river delta systems. A subordinate group of provinces containing rift basins, but lacking salt or active river delta systems, has also been identified. Recent drilling activity is demonstrating the potential of the active river delta provinces, while historic drilling results have provided mixed results for the rift basin provinces.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90913©2000 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Bali, Indonesia