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Gulf of Mexico Old Field Resurrection in the Aftermath of the BP Disaster

William Kimbrell, Elliott Black IV, James Kimbrell, Tracey Kimbrell, and Max Lindsay
[email protected]

This is a case study of an old field successfully resurrected back to commercial production by means of proper study, engineering design and efficient implementation in the aftermath of the BP disaster. The field is located off the coast of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, near the mouth of the Mississippi River in about 20 feet of water. A major company discovered it in 1955 by drilling to a total depth of 14,500 feet. It has produced approximately ten million barrels of oil and 21 billion cubic feet of gas. The field reached marginal profitability for the major company that discovered it and produced it for over thirty (30) years resulting in their divesture to a small operator in the late 1980s. After a short period of continued production, it was shut in for a period of almost ten years while languishing in and out of bankruptcy court from 1990 to 2000 and was actually orphaned by the state of Louisiana at one point during this time. All the while, the structures and wells deteriorated without proper capital input and the continual destruction from multiple hurricanes. This paper focuses on the time period just before and after the BP disaster discussing the difficulties involved with bringing an old field in the Gulf of Mexico back on line after years of many and various technical difficulties, non-cooperating weather and strict regulatory environment. It outlines what is believed to be a proper and necessary approach for a successful resurrection of an old field in this environment.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90167©2013 GCAGS and GCSSEPM 63rd Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 6-8, 2013