Blackbeard West well deepening planned

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, June 12 -- A group led by McMoRan Exploration Co., New Orleans, has set intermediate casing and plans to apply to deepen the Gulf of Mexico shelf well to 35,000 ft to evaluate the primary targets.

The group has drilled the South Timbalier Block 168 No. 1 well, formerly known as Blackbeard West No. 1, to 31,943 ft in 70 ft of water (OGJ, Mar. 10, 2008, p. 39). It is permitted to 33,000 ft.

McMoRan is operator with 32.3% working interest. Plains Exploration & Production Co. has 35%, Energy XXI Ltd. has 20%, and Eni SPA has 12.7%.

Energy XXI told investment analysts the Rowan Gorilla IV jack up now on the hole is rated to 35,000 ft but has never drilled that deep before. Drilling to the Lower Miocene or even the Paleogene might involve a Tarzan class rig with a 40,000 ft capacity.

Energy XXI said it is encouraged by a pressure regression encountered below the salt weld.

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