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True Integrated 3D Basin Modelling Application: A Case Study by BHPBilliton of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Perdido Foldbelt

Alan Yu, David Risch, and Peter Gale
BHP Billiton Petroleum, 1360 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX 77056

True 3D fluid flow and thermal modelling has become an essential part of Petroleum Systems Analysis for areas with high sedimentation rate, high overpressure, salt presence and multiple reservoirs. BHPBilliton has successfully developed a series of methods/procedures, using 3D basin modelling to predict HC charge potential, oil biodegradation risk, formation pressure for drilling, seal integrity, and qualitative reservoir quality. In this presentation, we will demonstrate how to use the integrated 3D basin modelling to quickly and effectively evaluate multiple prospects and derive exploration strategy in the area with limited well data and complex structures of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Perdido Foldbelt.

The GOM Perdido Foldbelt located in the Alaminos Canyon protraction area and extending southward into Mexico consists of a group of large box fold structures trending Northeast to Southwest caused by gravity sliding predominately in Upper Oligocene to Miocene time. Since the first exploration well (Baha AC600 #1) drilled in 1996, several additional exploration wells have been drilled, which have yielded the Great White and Trident discoveries. A number of recent wells however have been commercially/technically disappointing (e.g. Baha #2, Toledo, Tobago, and Tiger) and high drilling costs in some instances (over $100MM for Baha#2) have demonstrated the complexity of the Perdido Foldbelt petroleum system and the potential difficulties of drilling in this trend.

In late 2003, BHPBilliton completed a comprehensive 3D basin modelling study to better understand the Perdido Foldbelt petroleum system and to assess the future exploration potential of the trend. This integrated true 3D basin modelling study has identified additional potential and also successfully highlighted the key exploration risks which include insufficient petroleum charge, oil biodegradation, top seal failure and reservoir quality. Perdido Foldbelt drilling in the trend that occurred after the model was constructed has validated our modelled predictions for prospects in the area.


AAPG Search and Discover Article #90066©2007 AAPG Hedberg Conference, The Hague, The Netherlands