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Significance of the Lower Tertiary Trend in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico - the Challenges and Potential Rewards

Thurston, Steve 1; Cearley, James 1
1 Deepwater Exploration and Projects Strategic Business Unit, North America Exploration and Production, Chevron, Houston, TX.

The emerging Lower Tertiary Wilcox Trend of the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico is the latest new exploratory trend since the deepwater sub-salt Miocene trend was ignited 5 years ago with large discoveries like Thunder Horse and Tahiti. The deepwater Miocene has delivered over 8 billion BOE to date, and the Lower Tertiary Trend has delivered over 3 billion BOE so far, with much of the trend yet to be explored.

The Lower Tertiary Wilcox is a 300-mile-long, primarily sub-salt, trend in the ultra-deep water targeting some of the oldest and deepest clastic reservoirs yet developed in the Gulf of Mexico. In the Wilcox trend, the oil fields discovered to date have been very large in size and thickness, but with challenges of lower permeability reservoirs and low mobility hydrocarbons. Chevron’s record-setting deep well test at the “Jack Field” was an important milestone in confirming the producibility and commerciality of the significant oil in place in these ultra-deep Wilcox reservoirs.

Chevron believes that the key to unlocking the value of the Lower Tertiary Wilcox trend will be the practical application of existing technologies, the rapid maturation of new technologies, the efficient sharing of infrastructure development, and working closely with others in the industry as new fields are discovered and new challenges are overcome.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009