--> Abstract: Mars Life Cycle Field Development – Maximizing Recovery from a Deepwater Giant, by Michael Harris, Kelly Lambert, and Derek Newberry; #90124 (2011)

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Making the Next Giant Leap in Geosciences
April 10-13, 2011, Houston, Texas, USA

Mars Life Cycle Field Development – Maximizing Recovery from a Deepwater Giant

Michael Harris1; Kelly Lambert1; Derek Newberry1

(1) Shell Oil Co., New Orleans, LA.

The Mars Field, discovered in 1989 and brought onto production in 1996, is a true Deepwater Giant. The field, positioned in the Mississippi Canyon Protraction Area of the Gulf of Mexico, lies in approximately 3000 feet of water. The Mars Field is comprised of a thick sequence of stacked Plio-Miocene turbidite deposits trapped within a salt-flanked basin, with charge access to a prolific source rock. This geologic sweet-spot generated a field comprised of more than 70 individual reservoirs stacked in a 10,000 foot sequence. In-place volume estimates exceed more than 4 billion BOE. The stratigraphic section documents the evolution of salt-withdrawal and the cyclic and progressive fill and spill sedimentary dynamics of an intra-slope, salt-withdrawal mini-basin (Meckel, et al, 2002).

The Mars Field, owned by Shell (71.5% & operator) and BP (28.5%), historically contributed to the Gulf of Mexico’s position as a critical component of the US energy supply. Initial development occurred via a 24 well Tension Leg Platform, “Mars A”, with production capability of ~ 130K BOEPD. Production performance exceeded original predictions and the platform throughput capacity was doubled. With the subsequent addition of three subsea tiebacks, gas-lift and water flooding capabilities, the existing platform approached limitations related to buoyancy and well slot availability. The Mars field represents an outstanding asset, producing in excess of 700MM BOE to date.

Given the world-class resource base in this Deepwater Giant, the Mars A TLP approaching its limits, and an objective to maximize recoverable volume from the basin, additional infrastructure was evaluated. The recent Near Field Exploration discoveries of West Boreas & South Deimos, along with the redevelopment study, yielded a 2010 decision to deploy a second 24 well Tension Leg Platform, “Olympus TLP” at the Mars Field. Addition of new infrastructure, complementing the existing facilities, provides a combined 48 well slots and over 350K BOEPD processing facilities to optimize recovery from the Mars Field beyond 2050. This paper describes the challenges associated with constructing a Field Development plan for two platforms, 48 wells and over 70 reservoirs.