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Introduction to Geo-hazards in Deep Water and Associated with Exploration Around Salt

John Dribus
Global Geosciences Advisor, Schlumberger Oil Field Services

Abstract

Since the Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil and gas industry has been following a three-step approach to addressing various drilling hazards that may be encountered in deep water: Identification, Prevention, and Mitigation. This presentation focuses on the important step of understanding the geologic origin of various hazards in deep water by reviewing the geologic origin, characteristics, and behaviors of the three main deep water hazard types.

  • Man-made surface hazards: including linear geometry and single site geometry hazards
  • Sea-floor geologic hazards including pockmarks, mud volcanoes, unstable slopes, mass sediment movement, and reefs, buildups, and salt cap rock
  • Sub-surface geologic hazards including shallow water or gas flows, reactivated faults, gas chimneys, gas hydrates, and centroid effect.

In addition, potential drilling hazards often associated with massive and layered salt are reviewed including possible problems drilling in to top of salt, drilling through massive and layered salt complexes, and emerging from salt into rubble zones, feeders, or other potential hazards.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90203 © AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop, Trinidad and Tobago Deep Horizon and Deep Water Frontier Exploration in Latin America and the Caribbean, March 9-11, 2014, Port of Spain, Trinidad