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Seismic Reconstruction and Petroleum System Analysis of the Norphlet Formation in the Mississippi Canyon, Gulf of Mexico, Using 3D Seismic Data

Abstract

The Mississippi Canyon Protraction area has been one of the most active and pro-lific petroleum provinces in the deep water Gulf of Mexico during the last 25 years. However, a large majority of that production has been from Cenozoic strata with a very small percentage coming from Mesozoic reservoirs. During the last past 10 years, there has been a significant amount of industry activity in this area targeting Mesozoic reservoirs, especially the Jurassic-aged Norphlet eolian sandstones. This is due to several significant Norphlet discoveries just northeast of this area at Shell's Appomattox and Rydberg prospects. It is also due in large part to recent advancements in seismic acquisition methods, processing techniques, and improvements in sub-salt imaging as well as a better understanding of salt tectonics and its effects on sediment deposition.

The study covers a 216 square mile area in eastern Mississippi Canyon (MC)designated by MC block 472 in the northwestern corner to MC block 609 in the southeastern corner. 3D seismic data is being analyzed to reconstruct the salt tectonic and depositional history to better understand the overall petroleum system. There are currently 8 wells in this area all of which are producing from Cenozoic strata above a very large Mesozoic anticline. The fields include Colomb, Herschel, Fourier, and E. Anstey which are Upper Miocene fields producing to the NaKika production facility operated by BP. There have also been relatively recent discoveries on this structure in the Middle Miocene at Isabella and Santa Cruz. The underlying Mesozoic section is untested on this anticline and this structure appears to have a relatively complicated depositional and salt tectonic history. Reconstructing this structure through time is necessary to understand the maturity, timing, and migration of hydrocarbons from Mesozoic source rocks to Cenozoic and potential Mesozoic reservoirs.