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Testing nears at Davy Jones ultradeep gulf prospect

McMoRan Exploration Co. plans to flow-test its Davy Jones-1 ultradeep discovery well on the Gulf of Mexico shelf as soon as it recovers a fish lost in the hole as it prepared to run production tubulars.

Installation of the central processing facility, production platform for discovery well, and sales pipelines are substantially complete. The production tree, blowout preventer, and safety valve, rated for pressures of 25,000 psi, are available for installation.

“A successful flow test would have important implications on potential future reserve additions at Davy Jones and McMoRan’s other ultradeep prospects,” the company said. Production could be established shortly after a successful flow test, McMoRan said.

McMoRan has drilled two successful subsalt wells at Davy Jones. The Davy Jones-1 well on South Marsh Island Block 230 logged 200 net ft of pay in multiple Wilcox sands, all of which were full to base. The Davy Jones-2 appraisal well 2.5 miles southwest confirmed 120 net ft of pay in multiple Wilcox sands, indicating continuity across the major structural features of the prospect, and also encountered 192 net ft of potential hydrocarbons in the Tuscaloosa and Lower Cretaceous carbonate sections.

McMoRan expects to complete and flow test both wells in 2012.

McMoRan spudded the Blackbeard East ultradeep exploration bypass well on Aug. 25, 2011, at 30,630 ft. Permitted to 34,000 ft, the bypass well has been drilled to 33,400 ft true vertical depth, 33,882 ft measured depth, and is being logged in the section below 30,800 ft.

Wireline logs indicated that Blackbeard East encountered hydrocarbon-bearing sands in the Oligocene Frio with good porosity below 30,000 ft. The well previously encountered 178 net ft of hydrocarbons in Miocene sands above 25,000 ft.

Pressure and temperature data below the salt weld between 19,500 ft and 24,600 ft at Blackbeard East indicate that a completion at these depths could utilize conventional equipment and technologies, McMoRan said. Blackbeard East is in 80 ft of water on South Timbalier Block 144.

The Lafitte exploratory well in 140 ft of water on Eugene Island Block 223 was spudded on Oct. 3, 2010, and is drilling below 32,200 ft. Recent wireline logs have indicated hydrocarbon bearing sands in Frio below 30,000 ft.

This is the second hydrocarbon bearing Frio sand section encountered either on the GOM shelf or in the deepwater offshore Louisiana. The other is below 30,000 ft in the Blackbeard East well 80 miles east. McMoRan is considering more drilling opportunities on the Lafitte structure to evaluate this section further.

As previously reported, wireline logs from interim logging operations have indicated 171 net ft of possible productive sands in the Lafitte well, including 56 net ft of hydrocarbon bearing sand over a 58- ft gross interval in the Cris-R section of the Lower Miocene with good porosity. Flow testing will be required to confirm the ultimate hydrocarbon flow rates from this zone, which was full to base.

Possible productive thicknesses from the Frio sand section could be added after drilling and logging are completed. McMoRan controls 15,000 gross acres in the immediate area of Lafitte. These results enhance the potential of McMoRan’s other acreage in the Lafitte strategic area, including McMoRan’s Barataria and Captain Blood ultradeep prospects. Barataria covers 10,000 gross acres west-southwest of Lafitte, and Captain Blood takes in 10,000 gross acres south of Lafitte.

McMoRan will deepen the Lafitte well to 33,000 ft to evaluate additional Oligocene objectives. Lafitte is McMoRan’s third ultradeep prospect to encounter Miocene age sands below the salt weld on the gulf shelf.

The Blackbeard West-2 exploratory well, spudded Nov. 25, 2011, is drilling below 11,700 ft towards a proposed 26,000 ft. On Ship Shoal Block 188 in the Blackbeard West unit, it targets Miocene-aged sands seen below the salt weld 13 miles east at Blackbeard East.

Meanwhile, Chevron USA Inc. has spudded the Lineham Creek exploratory prospect onshore in Cameron Parish, La., targeting Eocene and Paleocene objectives below the salt weld. Operations commenced on Dec. 31, 2011, and the initial exploratory well has a proposed total depth of 29,000 ft. Interests are Chevron 50%, McMoRan 36%, Energy XXI (Bermuda) Ltd. 9%, and W.A. “Tex” Moncrief Jr. 5.0%.


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