BHP Billiton discovers natural gas with Vortex-1 well in deepwater Gulf of Mexico

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 13 -- BHP Billiton Ltd., Melbourne, reported that it discovered natural gas on its Vortex prospect on Atwater Valley Block 261 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

The Deepwater Millennium spudded the Vortex-1 exploratory well Sept. 9 in water depths of 8,344 ft. A sidetrack was also drilled 2,900 ft west of Vortex-1 to a total depth of 19,330 ft.

BHP Billiton holds a one-third interest in the Vortex prospect and is its operator, with partners Kerr-McGee Corp., Oklahoma City, and Ocean Energy, Inc., Houston, each also holding a one-third interest.

Earlier this month, BHP Billiton also found hydrocarbons with its Shenzi well in the Western Atwater Foldbelt area 125 miles off the Louisiana coast on Green Canyon Block 654, where the company previously discovered oil and natural gas at Mad Dog, Atlantis, and Neptune (OGJ, Nov. 5, 2001, p. 84).

The Western Atwater Foldbelt is set to become a core producing area for BHP Billiton starting in late 2004, a spokesman said (OGJ Dec. 2, 2002).

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