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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

GCAGS Transactions


Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions
Vol. 45 (1995), Pages 481-486

Deep-Water Northern Gulf of Mexico Hydrocarbon Plays

Robert H. Peterson, David W. Cooke


The geologic setting in the deep-water (depths > 305 meters {1,000 feet}) Gulf of Mexico is very favorable for the existence of large, commercial hydrocarbon accumulations. These areas have active salt tectonics that create abundant traps, underlying mature Mesozoic source rocks that can be observed expelling oil and gas to the ocean surface, and good quality reservoirs provided mainly by submarine fan deposits. Despite the limited amount of drilling in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, 11 deep-water accumulations have been discovered which, when developed, will rank in the top 100 largest fields in the Gulf of Mexico. Proved field discoveries have added over 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent to Gulf of Mexico reserves, and unproved field discoveries may add an additional billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The Minerals Management Service of the United States Department of the Interior, has completed a gulf-wide review of over 1,086 oil and gas fields and placed every pay sand in each field into one of several hydrocarbon plays. Plays are defined by chronostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy, structure, and production. Seven productive hydrocarbon plays include reservoirs located in the deep-water northern Gulf of Mexico. Regional maps illustrate the productive limits of each play. In addition, field data, dry holes, and wells with sub-economic pay were added to define the facies and structural limits for each play. Areas for exploration potential are identified for each hydrocarbon play. A type field for each play is chosen to demonstrate the play's characteristics.

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