--> ABSTRACT: 2001: A Deepwater Odyssey, The Past and Future Potential of The Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, by David B. Rains and David B. Meyer; #90906(2001)

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David B Rains1, David B Meyer2

(1) Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
(2) CNAEP, New Orleans, LA

ABSTRACT: 2001: A Deepwater Odyssey, The Past and Future Potential of The Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

On October 16, 1975, Placid spudded the first deepwater wildcat well in Mississippi Canyon block 113 initiating the exploration of the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Twenty-five years and 365 wildcats later, 120 discoveries have been made yielding 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe) reserves. Fields such as Auger, Mars/Ursa, Crazy Horse, and Mad Dog demonstrate that field reserves of 0.3 - 1 bboe are possible and that significant potential (10 - 20 bboe) remains for the next generation of drilling in 2001 and beyond.

An accurate assessment of risk and reserves is critical for the prudent investment of future plays in the Deepwater GoM. To achieve this, an understanding of drilled wells and trends is critical. For this study, all wildcats in >400 meters (1300') were grouped into a specific Tectonic Setting, Stratigraphic Age, and Trap Style, which ensured meaningful statistical analyses. Tectonic Settings included Basins (extensional), Foldbelts (compressional), Sigsbee Plain and Subsalt. The major Stratigraphic Ages were Pleistocene, Pliocene, and Miocene, and the four possible Trap Styles were 4way anticline, 3way faulted structure, salt/shale truncation, and stratigraphic.

At present, 91% of the wells tested structures in Basins with a 32% success rate, an average of 65 MMBOE/discovery totaling 7 bboe reserves. The remaining 9% are in the Subsalt (23 wells) and Fold Belt (10 wells) Tectonic Settings. These have success rates of 30% and 50%, respectively, averaging 220 mmboe/discovery and reserves of 2.7 bboe. Continued advances in deepwater drilling technology and seismic imaging will allow industry to tap the vast potential of the Fold Belt and Subsalt areas of the Deepwater GoM.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90906©2001 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado