Nine deepwater Gulf of Mexico finds noted

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 16 -- There have been nine deepwater (greater than 1,000 ft) oil and natural gas discoveries announced by operators in the Gulf of Mexico through November in 2005, the US Minerals Management Service reported.

"Discoveries like BP's Stones represent a continuing favorable development in the new Paleogene play in the Walker Ridge area," said Chris Oynes, MMS regional director for the gulf.

BP Exploration & Production Inc. in May said further drilling would be needed to determine extent of the discovery of hydrocarbons in a well drilled to 28,560 ft TVD in 9,576 ft of water on Walker Ridge Block 508, which it operates (OGJ, June 6, Newsletter).

MMS also reported that, in the week ended Dec. 2, there were nine rigs drilling in 5,000 ft or more of water. This compares with seven in the same period just a year ago.

MMS also noted that Unocal Corp., later merged with Chevron Corp., set a gulf drilling depth record of 32,968 ft at its Knotty Head prospect on Green Canyon Block 512. The Transocean Discoverer Spirit drillship drilled the well (OGJ, May 9, 2005, Newsletter). Royal Dutch Shell PLC held the previous record of 32,727 ft.

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