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Great Exploration Potential in Miocene Slope Lowstand Systems Tract Plays in South Louisiana [Abstract]
The Miocene trend of South Louisiana is prolific in gas resources and has produced over 90 Tcf of gas in nearly 100 years of exploration activity. In an area covering approximately 18,000 square miles, the shallow reservoirs have been intensively drilled and widely exploited. Our regional work suggests that the Miocene deep gas play still has significant untapped economic potential. The deep prospective geologic section is typically found at depths exceeding 12,000 feet, which coincides with the transition from shelf deposits to the slope section. Thick Miocene and pre-Miocene Lowstand System Tracts (LST) dominate the deep section.
Numerous deep structures associated with salt tectonics and growth faulting produce excellent trapping conditions for hydrocarbon accumulation. Higher ultimate recovery and production rates are associated with the deep production zones. The larger fields in this prolific trend have deep production and/or multiple reservoir zones. Proactive operators are taking advantage of the new data and technologies to optimize their success with deep discoveries and greatly increasing field reserves by targeting the deeper LST reservoirs.
More than 70,000 wells have been drilled in South Louisiana, but fewer than 9% of the wells have penetrated deeper than 15,000 feet. More than 90% of those wells were drilled without the benefit of 3-D seismic data, leaving large areas available for deep gas exploration. Many untested opportunities still remain around and below existing fields.
Recognizing and understanding the characteristics of the slope deposits in South Louisiana are critical for successful onshore exploration of the deep gas reservoirs. These onshore Lowstand Systems Tracts plays are analogous in many respects to the stratigraphically younger deep-water reservoirs in the present-day Gulf of Mexico, which have been the recent exploration focus of the industry. These deep Miocene gas sands embody the high impact hydrocarbon potential remaining in the coastal parishes of South Louisiana.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND ASSOCIATED FOOTNOTES
Schlumberger, 1325 S. Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77077
Copyright © 2003 by NOGS (The New Orleans Geological Society)