Two big developments announced in GoM

Both Shell and Exxon Mobil reported big steps in the Gulf of Mexico post-Macondo.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – Both Shell and Exxon Mobil reported big steps in the Gulf of Mexico post-Macondo. Shell has decided to go ahead with development at Cardamom field, and Exxon Mobil has reported major drilling success in finding oil in Keathley Canyon.

Shell will make a multi-billion dollar investment to develop the Cardamom oil and gas field in deepwater Gulf. At its peak, Shell says the development will produce 50,000 boe/d with 140 MMboe over its life.

The Cardamom is in Garden Banks block 427, approximately 362 km (225 mi) southwest of New Orleans in more than 800 m (2,720 ft) of water. The completed subsea system will include five well expandable manifolds, a dual 20-cm (8-in.) flowline, and eight well umbilicals.

The Cardamom discovery well was drilled from the Auger platform and features a measured depth of 9,642 m (31,634 ft), a reach of more than 4,570 m (15,000 ft), and a vertical depth greater than 7,620 m (25,000 ft).

Modifications to the Auger platform will include additional subsea receiving equipment, a new production train and weight mitigation, which is expected to significantly increase the Cardamom liquid handling, cooling, and production capacities.

The first Cardamom exploration well has been producing directly from the Auger platform since December 2010.

The Cardamom discovery is a result of advances in seismic imaging and extended reach drilling. The potential of Cardamom was first recognized early in the Auger development, but could not be fully assessed due to a layer of salt nearby which affected the quality of traditional seismic images. Advances in seismic imaging helped achieve significant improvements.

ExxonMobil Corp. has announced two major oil and one gas discovery in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico in its first post-moratorium exploration work.

Well KC919-3 in Keathley Canyon block 919 encountered more than 475 ft (145 m) of net oil pay and a minor amount of natural gas in predominantly Pliocene sandstone reservoirs. Drilling continues to deepen the well.

Drilling in early 2010 encountered oil and natural gas at Hadrian North in KC919 and extending into KC918, with more than 550 ft (168 m) of net oil pay and a minor amount of gas in high-quality Pliocene and Upper Miocene sandstone reservoirs.

ExxonMobil found 200 ft (61 m) of natural gas Pliocene plan at its Hadrian South prospect in Keathley Canyon block 964 in 2009.

“We estimate a recoverable resource of more than 700 MMboe combined in our Keathley Canyon blocks,” said Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Co. "This is one of the largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico in the last decade. More than 85% of the resource is oil with additional upside potential."

ExxonMobil is the operator of KC918, KC919, KC963, and KC964 with 50% working interest. Eni Petroleum US LLC and Petrobras America Inc. each hold a 25% working interest in KC919, KC963, and KC964. Petrobras America Inc. holds a 50% working interest in KC918.

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