--> --> Abstract: Identifying Exploration Fairways in the Gulf of Mexico: Deepwater Tuscaloosa/Woodbine Play, by Brian W. Horn; #90124 (2011)

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

Identifying Exploration Fairways in the Gulf of Mexico: Deepwater Tuscaloosa/Woodbine Play

Brian W. Horn1

(1) Integrated Seismic Solutions, ION Geophysical, Houston, TX.

For the past 20 years exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has progressively changed focus from shallow-water shelf environments to deep-water slope and basin floor depositional environments. This has led to drilling for progressively older stratigraphic intervals in the deep water with the most recent focus on the Lower Tertiary or Wilcox equivalent strata. These exploration plays are driven by understanding the up dip fluvial/deltaic stratigraphic architecture and the potential for partitioning of reservoir-quality sandstones across the depositional shelf into the slope and basin floor environments.

The Upper Cretaceous Tuscaloosa and Woodbine sandstones are reservoirs in several large onshore fields with reserves in excess of 8Bboe (e.g. Judge Digby, Port Hudson, East Texas, Double A). Examination of the depositional patterns and stratigraphic geometries of these two clastic depositional systems indicate that similar to the Lower Tertiary Wilcox trend, a significant Upper Cretaceous deep water fan system is also present in the Gulf of Mexico. Two key elements that will impact the success of this play are the prediction of reservoir presence and reservoir quality. Analysis of the source sediment lithologies and stratal geometry of the up dip deltas coupled with interpretation of the onshore well data and regional seismic correlations suggest this play may have better reservoir-quality facies than the Wilcox deep water deposits and could be the next major exploration play in the Gulf of Mexico.