McMoRan drilling ultradeep gulf shelf prospect

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Sept. 24
-- McMoRan Exploration Co., New Orleans, is setting intermediate casing at 23,500 ft, below a salt weld, at a proposed 28,000-ft ultradeep shelf prospect as part of its Gulf of Mexico exploration program.

McMoRan reentered a wellbore on South Marsh Island Block 230 in 20 ft of water south of Vermilion Bay. The Davy Jones prospect involves a large ultradeep structure on four blocks. The company will deepen the well to test Eocene Wilcox, Paleocene, and possibly Cretaceous Tuscaloosa.

Working interests in the prospect are expected to be McMoRan 25.7%, Plains Exploration & Production Co. 27.7%, Energy XXI 15.8%, Nippon Oil Exploration USA Ltd. 12%, W.A. “Tex” Moncrief Jr. 8.8%, and a private investor 3%.

Meanwhile, McMoRan plans to kick off a second sidetrack shortly at its Blueberry Hill deep gas prospect in 10 ft of water on Louisiana State Lease 340. The initial well and a first sidetrack established a 190-ft vertical hydrocarbon column, and the second sidetrack is to identify an optimum production take point.

McMoRan plans an updip sidetrack of the Hurricane Deep well on the southern flank of the Flatrock structure on South Marsh Island Block 217 in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Logs at the Hurricane Deep 226 well, drilled to 20,712 ft true vertical depth in early 2007, indicated an exceptionally thick upper Gyro sand totaling 900 gross ft, the top 40 ft of which were hydrocarbon-bearing. McMoRan believes the updip sidetrack could intersect a thicker hydrocarbon column.

McMoRan recompleted the Flatrock-5 well in September for production of 65 MMcfd of gas equivalent, bringing total output from five of the six Flatrock field wells to 265 MMcfed. Flatrock-4, shut-in in August due to a wellbore mechanical issue, is to return to production in the fourth quarter.

McMoRan plugged as noncommercial the Sherwood deep gas exploratory prospect on High Island Block 133. TD is 17,000 ft.

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