Finds multiply in gulf's southern East Breaks area

Nov. 8, 1999
Important developments are taking place in the southeastern part of the deepwater East Breaks area in the western Gulf of Mexico.

Important developments are taking place in the southeastern part of the deepwater East Breaks area in the western Gulf of Mexico.

Most recent successful well in the area is at North Boomvang, which a Kerr-McGee Corp. group announced at the end of September.

Kerr-McGee holds interests in five blocks covering several prospects in the Boomvang area, four of which it operates. Kerr-McGee believes the area has moderate risk and moderate field potential with a reserve range of 70-100 million bbl of oil equivalent, said Luke R. Corbett, chairman and chief executive officer.

"Evaluation of the well data, 3D seismic, and results of additional drilling will help determine the ultimate reserve size and development options for this project," Corbett said.

The well announced in September is on the North Boomvang prospect on Block 643. It is in 3,450 ft of water and offsets a prior discovery drilled in 1997 and announced in early 1998.

That discovery well, in 3,668 ft of water, cut a 350 ft gross column of 31° gravity oil with average net pay of 40-50 ft. TD is 12,312 ft measured depth. One partner estimated reserves at 35-45 million BOE based on seismic data.

Other prospects

Kerr-McGee as operator and Ocean Energy Inc., Houston, last month announced a deepwater discovery on the Nansen prospect, which covers blocks 601, 602, and 646.

That well, in 3,680 ft of water on Block 602 and 8 miles east of North Boomvang, cut about 140 ft of gas and condensate pay. TD is 11,990 ft.

Drilling continued on an appraisal well to test an adjacent fault block, and another delineation well was to be drilled there by yearend.

The partners were also drilling a wildcat on the West Boomvang prospect on Block 642 to be followed by a wildcat on the East Boomvang prospect on Block 688. Reading & Bates Development Co., Houston, participates in all three Boomvang prospects.

James T. Hackett, Ocean Energy president and chief executive, expressed optimism about the area.

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"Nansen is a successful exploratory well, and profitability could be greatly enhanced with the synergy of developing this field in conjunction with the recently announced Boomvang discovery," Hackett said.

East Breaks activity

Of about 800 blocks in the frontier East Breaks area, 280 are active leases, including 259 still on primary term, according to Minerals Management Service figures. The numbers do not include blocks bid in the most recent lease sale.

East Breaks has 13 units, of which eight are producing. The producing blocks are on and along the shelf at the northern edge of East Breaks.

No pipeline infrastructure exists in the Boomvang-Nansen area.

Earlier this year, East Breaks Gathering Co. LLC signed an agreement with Exxon Co. U.S.A. and BP Amoco plc to build, own, and operate a gas line from the Alaminos Canyon area to the south to an existing system on High Island Block A-573.

Passing a few miles southeast of blocks shown on the accompanying map, the 85-mile, mainly 20-in. gas line would originate at Exxon's and BP Amoco's Alaminos Canyon Block 25 production facility, 160 miles south of Galveston, Tex.

The 400 MMcfd line would cost $90 million. East Breaks Gathering is comprised of Leviathan Gas Pipeline Partners LP 40%, ANR Pipeline Co. 40%, and Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America 20%.

Exxon's Diana field area lies in the lower East Breaks area about 30 miles southwest of North Boomvang, and Exxon's Rockefeller field is on Block 992.