--> --> Abstract: Opportunity from Complexity: The Northern Gulf of Mexico, Offshore U.S. — Learnings for Angola, by Geoffrey Hill, David Rainey, Cindy Yeilding, Mark Golborne, Larry E. Archibald, Chuck Guderjahn, and Gerchard Pfau; #90082 (2008)

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Opportunity from Complexity: The Northern Gulf of Mexico, Offshore U.S. — Learnings for Angola

Geoffrey Hill1, David Rainey2, Cindy Yeilding2, Mark Golborne4, Larry E. Archibald3, Chuck Guderjahn2, and Gerchard Pfau2
1Angola business unit, BP, Sunbury on Thames, United Kingdom
2Gulf of Mexico, BP, Houston, TX
3Russia offshore, BP, Houston, TX
4Exploration and Appraisal, BP, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Exploration in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has been ongoing since the first successful offshore well in the 1940s. To date, over 64 billion barrels oil equivalent have been discovered in the U.S. offshore. The first 40 years of Exploration were dominated by activity in the Upper Tertiary of the Shelf, and industry moved into deepwater water (>1000') en masse with the 1985 area-wide OCS lease sales.

The first “Round” of deepwater leasing (1985-1994) yielded success in a number of seismic attribute-related upper Miocene and younger discoveries. These discoveries were enabled through the application of 3D seismic time processing at scale and 4th generation drilling capability in 3000-5000' of water. The second “Round” of leasing and drilling focused on older stratigraphy, and on testing robust structural culminations, many of which were partially or completely subsalt. These discoveries resulted from the integration of geological first principles with 3D seismic depth processing. They were enabled by 5th generation drilling rigs with capability to drill in 5,000-10,000' of water, as well as the ability to drill to over 30,000'.

The Gulf of Mexico portfolio of opportunities continues to evolve. Most recent drilling activity has yielded a series of oil discoveries in the Paleogene strata of the deepwater. In addition, the most recent step change in seismic imaging, the application of multi-azimuth acquisition techniques at scale, has potential to extend existing plays under ever more complex and difficult to image salt. As 6th generation drilling rigs move from the drawing board to the ship yard, the future for exploration in the Gulf of Mexico remains as bright as ever.

The lessons learned from the Gulf of Mexico can be applied to the new salt province in Angola.

AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Cape Town, South Africa 2008 © AAPG Search and Discovery