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Risk Management and the Economic Redemption of Seismic Data in the Sacramento Basin, California

Kim S. Parsons
Venoco, Inc, Denver, CO

In 2007, Venoco drilled 127 wells in the Sacramento Basin, California, and is on track to drill another 120 wells in 2008. The primary reservoir in over 90% of the wells is the Cretaceous Forbes, a 3000' thick section of interbedded marine shales and turbidite clastics. Quality 3D seismic data is critical to refining the architecture of and successful drilling locations in the incised channel sequences, fault traps, and shingled turbidite packages. Effective seismic data analysis also delineates amplitude pitfalls to avoid such as bentonites, basalts, and superpressure zones.

Venoco currently owns over 1500 square miles of 3D seismic and over 20,000 line miles of 2D seismic in the Sacramento Basin, California. Another six 3D surveys are planned for 2008 through 2009, at a cost of $40,000 to $100,000 per square mile. All seismic expenditures compete with drilling dollars and are sold to engineering management in equivalent terms of capital exposure, risked reserve adds, enhanced chance of success, PV10, and salvage value. Economic scenarios on new play entry are run as a part of strategic planning and include seismic, acreage, dry holes and successful wells. Competitor analyses also provide plenty of case studies on amount of reserves likely to be found in a geographic province and reserves that must be found to achieve acceptable economic metrics.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90092©2009 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section, July 9-11, 2008, Denver, Colorado