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Eisenberg, Richard1, Wes Combs1, Matthew Johnson1, Kevin Eastham1
(1) ChevronTexaco, New Orleans, LA

ABSTRACT: Petroleum Systems Analysis and Comparison of Inversion Structures (Turtles and Half Turtles), Eastern Salt Canopy Trend: Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

Since the initial drilling at Metallica and subsequent discoveries at Thunder Horse and Thunder Horse North there has been a significant increase in wildcat drilling activity in the Eastern Salt Canopy Trend of the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. An additional discovery at Blind Faith and a series of dry-holes/non-commercial discoveries in the trend has shown, however, that the petroleum system characterizing this play type is more complex then previously thought. To date, eleven prospects targeting deep Miocene reservoirs in inversion structures have been drilled in the Eastern Salt Canopy Trend with a geological success rate of 0.55. Our understanding of these petroleum systems and our ability to accurately assess the geological risk of prospects of this play type has evolved rapidly over the past 5 years as a result of deeper exploratory drilling and public availability of data from these wells.
Regional and prospect scale structural mapping of proprietary pre-stack depth migrated seismic data, analysis of well logs and interpretation of the stratigraphic relationships between inverted mini-basins provide the framework for this comprehensive summary and comparison of the petroleum systems characterizing this play type. Although our understanding of these petroleum systems has come along way since the first hydrocarbon discovery at Thunder Horse, a large degree of geological uncertainty still exists. The ability to adapt to these evolving challenges and integrate new data as it becomes available will ultimately determine long-term exploration success within this trend.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.