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Unlocking the Deep HPHT Oligocene Fairway in the Nile Delta and the 20K Technology Promise

Chrysanthe S. Munn
Resource Appraisal Manager, Trinidad Exploration BP


With the continuing development of the shallower Plio-Pleistocene gas fields in the Offshore Nile Delta and Columbus Basin of Trinidad, the quest for additional hydrocarbons has driven the industry to target deeper and High Pressure-High Temperature (HP-HT) reservoirs.

Over the last decade there have been a significant number of industry exploration wells testing the Oligo-Miocene fairways in the Offshore Nile. BP's gas discoveries at Satis-1 in the East, and WMDW-7 (Hodoa) in the West, represent the deepest of the existing successful fairway tests. Both wells penetrated targets approximately 6000 meters below sea level, and encountered in-situ reservoir pressures exceeding 17,000 psi (18 ppg mw), which equates to surface pressures close to the upper pressure limit of what can be safely produced using existing facility designs and proven engineering technologies. Similar overpressures are also common to the Columbus Basin slope plays as drilled by BPs deep water Catfish 1 well and the deepest wells on the shelf. Several of these wells were terminated prematurely within the 15-18 ppg mud weight window at shallower depths than drilled in the Nile delta.

Development of these discoveries and further exploration drilling of even deeper targets are necessitated by the predicted demand growth for gas. It is, however, predicated by the industry's ability to produce these HP-HT reservoirs safely. This presentation discusses Satis and Hodoa as models for the deeper Oligocene Nile Delta fairway and as guides for the potential prizes still remaining to be produced. BP has recently outlined a multi-billion dollar project to develop appropriate high pressure, high temperature capability to drill, develop and produce resources where pressures exceed todays limit of 15,000 pounds per square inch (psi). The investment highlights our company's commitment for safety and excellence while continuing to meet the world energy demands. The project is called "Project 20KTM" and is aimed at delivering technologies and processes to drill, complete, produce, intervene and contain reservoirs with pressures of up to 20,000 psi and temperatures of 350°F at the mudline for offshore application. The development of this technology will enable future developmental projects in the offshore Nile Delta and other high pressure environments such as the Columbus Basin slope and basin floor plays.

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