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Chevron (as operator for its partners, Phillips, Champlin, and Impkemix) discovered the Point Arguello oil field in 1981. The discovery well, the Chevron et al 1 P-0316, was drilled in federal waters 7.3 mi (11.8 km) south of Point Arguello, California. Delineation drilling on adjoining leases P-0315 (Texaco group), P-0316 (Chevron, Phillips, Champlin, and Impkemix), and P-0450 (Chevron and Phillips) confirmed the presence of a giant oil field with estimated recoverable reserves in excess of 300 million bbl.
The oil field is in a small subbasin at the southern edge of the offshore Santa Maria basin. This local depocenter developed in response to regional strike-slip tectonics and contains more than 15,000 ft (4,570 m) of Neogene sediments.
The Point Arguello structure is a large north-northwest trending anticlinal complex composed of 2 major highs separated by a faulted saddle. Reverse faults may cut the southwest flank and northern plunge of the Point Arguello structure.
The main reservoir is the middle and late Miocene Monterey Formation, composed of highly fractured cherts, porcellanites, and dolostones. Producibility is dependent on fracturing, as matrix permeabilities are low. Matrix porosities average about 13.5% and fracture porosities 1.5% of the reservoir volume. Analyses of pressure buildups indicate in-situ permeabilities up to 782 md.
Crestal wells have indicated productivities, after acid, of approximately 6,000 bbl/day. Platform Hermosa is scheduled to be installed on the P-0316 lease in May 1985, with oil production expected by January 1986.
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