Texaco takes a deepwater plunge with three discoveries

Dev George Managing Editor The Arethusa Lexington drilled Texaco's Petronius prospect.


Dev George
Managing Editor


The Arethusa Lexington drilled Texaco's Petronius prospect.

Not to be outdone by its fellow Gulf of Mexico deepwater explorers, Shell, BP, and Exxon, Texaco has announced that during 1995, it successfully drilled three rank wildcats that resulted in discoveries of significant prospects. A part of the company's multi-year deepwater drilling program for the Gulf of Mexico, the new finds are considered a consequence of the company's worldwide plan for growth, a program that Texaco began last year by liquidating 300 producing properties for more than half a billion dollars.

Texaco Exploration and Production, in announcing the discoveries, said they were made on the first three of the prospects the company was drilling in its efforts to evaluate Texaco's inventory of high potential deepwater prospects, 115 exploratory blocks covering 536,304 acres of Gulf waters at depths greater than 1,300 ft.

The three prospects, Petronius, Fuji, and Gemini, are now in various stages of evaluation by Texaco, which is operator of all three.


Lying in 1,754 ft of water on Viosca Knoll Block k786, the 50/50 Marathon Oil Company joint venture Petronius prospect is located 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. In August, its discovery well reached a total depth of 10,854 ft and tested 7,700 b/d of 31intergral API oil and 4.4 million cf/d gas.

Texaco Exploration & Production's President Clarence P. Cazalot, said that Petronius has considerable development potential for the company. "A delineation well is planned for October to further evaluate reservoir extent and the prospect could be brought to commercial production in about three years. Our team is well into the evaluation process to determine the optimal manner for developing Petronius."


Southwest of New Orleans some 150 miles, Texaco holds a 22-block clustered concession of approximately 126,720 acres in the Central Green Canyon Area of offshore Louisiana. In February of this year, while exploring several promising prospects in the concession, Texaco drilled a rank wildcat on Block 506 in 4,243 ft of water to a total depth of 21,200 ft and discovered the second of its new deepwater finds, Fuji, which is owned 75% by Texaco and 25% by Shell Offshore.

The newfound Fuji Field, although establishing significant hydrocarbons in the exploratory trend and reducing risk for several other nearby, high impact prospects, was temporarily plugged and abandoned to await development plans.

Late next year, however, further delineation wells will be drilled on Fuji Field, and exploratory wells will be drilled on several of the surrounding prospects in an effort to evaluate the trend's potential and provide guidance in determining a development program. Texaco holds 100% interest in the 19 blocks surrounding Fuji.


At somewhat less water depth yet located below 2,908 ft of tabular salt, Texaco's third deepwater discovery of 1995 was its Gemini prospect, in 3,393 ft of water just 90 miles southeast of New Orleans in Mississippi Canyon Block 292. Jointly owned by Chevron (40%), the Gemini discovery was drilled to a total depth of 17,976 ft, but has not yet been tested. That is to be done in 1996 to evaluate the substantial hydrocarbon reservoirs said to have been encountered below the salt formation.


Texaco drew upon 3D seismic acquisition, imaging, and workstation evaluation in determining whether to drill each of the three discoveries. Furthermore, the company is now acquiring additional seismic data using its proprietary vertical cable technology, which significantly reduces computer processing costs and is said to improve imaging quality over conventional seismic methods, especially in deepwater areas.

Furthermore, Texaco is considering utilization of several DeepStar technologies such as subsea completions and tie-backs to shallower water production facilities as much as 60 miles from the wells.

Texaco is a leader of the DeepStar Project, a consortium of operators and vendors in the Gulf of Mexico seeking to develop solutions to the economic and technological challenges of deepwater development.

Copyright 1995 Offshore. All Rights Reserved.

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