Vastar says the Horn Mountain discovery is commercial and is commencing engineering studies to develop the field.

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Vastar may have set three records on Horn Mountain

Vastar says the Horn Mountain discovery is commercial and is commencing engineering studies to develop the field. Phillip Behrman, Vastar's deepwater exploration manager, said the company is still comfortable with pre-drill estimates of 125 million bbl of recoverable reserves. Horn Mountain is located in 5,418 ft water depth on Mississippi Canyon 126 and 127. The field contains 34-degree API oil. Vastar operates the field with two-thirds interest; the remainder is held by Occidental Petroleum. Vastar may have set several records in the process:

  • Drilled to a measured depth of 13,762 ft in only 12 days
  • Used a catenary rig mooring system in water depths of 6,023 ft deep
  • Spudding a deepwater well only 13 hours after a rig relocation.

Vastar has already spudded its next deep water exploration well on the Anvil prospect on Mississippi Canyon 815, in 5,400 ft of water.

Spirit Energy 76 claims 100% success

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Global Industries officially opened its new yard in Carlyss, Louisiana in December. The new 625-acre site is located 17 miles from Lake Charles along the Calcasieu Ship Channel, which has 40 ft water depth and a larger pipe rack. The company closed its other two sites, located in Houma and Lafayette, Louisiana, in October to consolidate in Carlyss.
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Unocal Spirit Energy 76 said it spudded six exploratory wells and 13 development wells on the Gulf of Mexico shelf and onshore area during the third quarter, with a 100% finding success rate. The company also said that as of this writing in the fourth quarter, it was continuing with that 100% success rate.

  • A well on the Cook prospect, an exploratory test of a new fault block on Ship Shoal 208, should reach TD later this month but has already logged more than 500 ft of net pay. Estimated first production of 17 MMcf/d of gas should begin later this month. Spirit operates with 86% and BP Amoco holds 14%.
  • Inverness and Shinnecock wells illustrate the ability to add production from acquisition of mature properties. Inverness logged 20 net ft of pay in a new fault block and is expected to produce 19 MMcf/d of gas beginning in late December. Shinnecock logged 350 net ft of pay and is expected to produce 1,500 b/d of oil by the end of the month. Spirit holds 100% of both wells.
  • The Nesejac wildcat well found a new reservoir on High Island 179. The well will begin producing 10 to 15 MMcf/d by May 2000. A similar well is being drilled in the Boudin prospect in nearby High Island 178. Spirit holds 100% of Nesejac and Boudin.

Nansen, Boomvang plans go forward

Kerr McGee's appraisal well on East Breaks 602 (Nansen Prospect) was drilled to 12,399 ft, found 100 ft of net oil and gas pay, and established commerciality of the Nansen prospect.

The well is in 3,679 ft of water, about 3,500 ft west of the original Nansen discovery well in an adjacent updip fault block. The discovery well was drilled to TD at 11,990 ft and found 140 ft of gas condensate pay. Another appraisal well has been spudded to test another fault block east of the discovery well.

A third well is expected to be drilled to delineate the reservoir. Nansen is on East Breaks 601, 602, and 646. Reserves for the area are estimated at 340 to 450 Bcfe. Kerr-McGee and partners will review development options for the greater Boomvang and Nansen areas.

First production is planned for early 2002. Ocean Energy holds the remaining 50% of Nansen.

Speculative seismic issue won't go away

Non-exclusive 2D and 3D seismic surveys (spec) is being used by oil and gas producers to explore vast regions of the Gulf of Mexico at a fraction of the unit cost ($/common depth point) than is possible using proprietary surveys.

This expanded is apparently coming at a price - ownership of the seismic data. That tradeoff came to the fore as a result of the merger activity over the past year and the resulting transfer fees required by the licensing agreements.

The issue was explored in detail at an International Association of Geophysical Contractors meeting in Houston in November (See article elsewhere in this issue).

Specifications released for MMS Sale 175

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The US Minerals Management Service (MMS) issued a proposed notice of sale for Sale 175 in the Central Gulf of Mexico. The sale is scheduled for March 15 in New Orleans. It includes 4,178 blocks encompassing 22.15 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The blocks are three to 200 miles offshore in water depths between 4 meters and 3,425 meters. The MMS said it estimates recoverable hydrocarbons in the area are 150-400 million bbl of oil and 1.53-4.39 Tcf of gas. As in the last lease sale, the minimum bid is $25 per acre or a portion, except in water depths of 800+ meters, where the minimum bid is $37.50 per acre or a portion. The MMS would like to require electronic funds transfer for 1/5 of the bonus amounts bid. Other statistics on the sale include the following:

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