A decrease in the Gulf of Mexico deep-water discoveries (over 1,000 ft) is possibly the result of extremely expensive technology or plentiful hydrocarbons awaiting development in shallow water fields, whatever the reason, discoveries in 2000 beat-out discoveries in 2001.
There were 20 deepwater discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico in 2001. In 2000, deepwater discoveries totaled 25, which is five more discoveries than last year. Most discoveries in 2001 were made in the Eastern Gulf in the Mississippi Canyon area, but only three were found in that same area in 2000. Increased discovery in this area shows operators are either not exploring in ultra deepwater as heavily as they did in 2000, for instance in the Atwater Valley area, or there are simply more hydrocarbons in deepwater blocks in Mississippi Canyon, Garden Banks, and Green Canyon. Access to expensive technologies is also an important factor in decreased deepwater discoveries.
There was a slight decrease in Green Canyon and Garden Banks, although the two areas remain fairly active. Four discoveries were made in Green Canyon in 2001, in contrast to the six made in 2000. Five discoveries were made in Garden Banks in 2001, yet the area had seven discoveries in 2000. Three discoveries were made in East Breaks, three in Viosca Knoll, two in Ewing Bank, and one in Atwater Valley in 2000. All of the 20 recent discoveries in 2001 were in Mississippi Canyon, Garden Banks, or Green Canyon.
The Callisto discovery in Mississippi Canyon 876 is in 7,790 ft water depth, making it the deepest of the 2001 discoveries listed. Other deepwater discoveries include Red Hawk in Garden Banks 877 in 5,300 ft; Hawkes in 4,174 ft. in Mississippi Canyon 508/509; Yosemite in 3,500 ft in Green Canyon 516; Ozona Deep in 3,280 ft in Garden Banks 515; Aspen in 3,200 ft in Green Canyon 243; and Eiger Sanction in 2,934 ft.
Of all the discoveries, 37 are in the planning stage, 15 are commercial, one is noncommercial, three are producing, two are undetermined, and one has been suspended. Semisubmersibles (SS) seem to be the most common production vessel with 15 discoveries either planning or already producing using these. Four discoveries will produce to a tension leg platform (TLP) and four are using a spar-based solution (SPR). The drilling completion unit (DCU) seems to be the next most popular production type with seven discoveries using it. Two discoveries are using a floating production solution (FPS) and one uses coil tubing (CT).
Five discoveries have estimated reserves about 150 MMboe, Six discoveries estimate more than 150 MMboe reserves. Crazy Horse tips the scale with an estimated 1,000 MMboe. The Lady discovery tested the highest cubic feet per day with 8,000 MMcf/d, Oregano produces the most barrels per day with 11,000 b/d of oil.