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Louisiana State Water Gulf of Mexico Old Field Resurrection in the Aftermath of the Macondo Disaster
This is a case study of an old field successfully resurrected back to commercial production by means of proper and efficient study, design, and implementation before and after the Macondo disaster. It considers the effects of working in an offshore environment in the aftermath of the Macondo incident compared to just before the incident. It also compares the aftermath effects of other disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
West Delta 84 Field is located off the coast of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana near the mouth of the Mississippi River in about 20 ft (6 m) of water. A consortium of major integrated oil and gas companies (Chevron, Conoco, and Texaco) discovered it in 1955 by drilling to a total depth of 14,500 ft (4420 m). It has produced over ten million barrels of oil and 21 billion cubic ft of gas. The field reached marginal profitability for the major companies that discovered it and produced it for over thirty years resulting in their divesture to a small operator in the September 1988. After a short period of continued production, it was shut-in for a period of almost ten years while languishing in and out of bankruptcy court twice from 1990 to 2000 and was actually orphaned by the State of Louisiana at one point during this time. All the while, the structures and wells deteriorated without proper capital input and the continual destruction from multiple hurricanes.
This paper focuses on the time period just before and after the Macondo disaster discussing the difficulties involved with bringing an old field in the Gulf of Mexico back on line after years of many and various technical difficulties, uncooperative weather, and strict (and sometimes illogical) regulatory environments. It outlines what is believed to be a proper and necessary approach for a successful resurrection of an old field in this environment, or at least what has worked in this case.
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