The Point Arguello Field: Giant Reserves in a Fractured Reservoir, California
William E. Mero, Stephen P. Thurston, Robert E. Kropschot, 1992. "The Point Arguello Field: Giant Reserves in a Fractured Reservoir, California", Giant Oil and Gas Fields of the Decade 1978-1988, Michel T. Halbouty
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Chevron (as operator for its partners, Phillips, Union Pacific Resources, and Impkemix) discovered the Point Arguello oil field in 1981. The discovery well, the Chevron et al. Ρ 0316 #1, was drilled in federal waters 8.5 mi (13.7 km) south of Point Arguello, California. Delineation drilling (by both Chevron and Texaco) has confirmed the discovery of a giant oil field with estimated recoverable reserves in excess of 300 million bbl of oil.
The oil field is located within a small depocenter at the southern edge of the offshore Santa Maria basin. This local depocenter may contain over 15,000 ft (4600 m) of Neogene rocks. The Point Arguello accumulation is trapped in a large north-northwest-trending anticlinal complex and is part of an anticlinal trend of similar Monterey oil discoveries and producing fields within the offshore Santa Maria basin.
The primary reservoir is the middle and upper Miocene Monterey Formation, composed of fractured cherts, porcelanites, siliceous mudstones, and dolostones. Calculated fracture permeabilities range up to 3 darcys. Crestal wells have productive capabilities, after acid, of approximately 6000 BOPD.
Three production platforms have been installed, and connected by oil and gas pipelines to onshore treatment facilities capable of handling 100,000 BOPD and 60 MMCFGD. Thirty-nine development wells have been drilled. Initial production was scheduled for late 1987; however, permitting delays stalled production from this giant oil field until May 1991.
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The success of Memoir 14 and the worldwide interest shown for data on giant fields prompted AAPG to schedule a symposium on giant fields at the end of each subsequent decade. The 1968-78 symposium was held in Houston, Texas, April 1-4, 1979, and the papers were published in AAPG Memoir 30, December 1980.
The Stavanger Conference "Giant Oil and Gas Fields of the Decade: 1978-1988" was held in Stavanger, Norway, September 9-12, 1990, and is a continuation of the Giants of the Decade series.
Scientific studies and projections of future world energy demand indicate that although alternative-energy fuel sources must be actively pursued and developed, there also must be adequate petroleum supplies to bridge the gap. For the international petroleum industry, the years covered by this conference, 1978-88, were complex. They were years of boom and bust. The world's energy consciousness was boosted sharply by the effects of the 1979 Iranian revolution and the resulting embargo, which sent world oil prices to record heights. Global petroleum exploration soon surged, leading to the industry's all-time drilling high in 1981. Then came the oil price collapse in 1985, and the following years were characterized by falling oil prices and drastic budget cuts for exploration and development.
Although exploration dropped sharply during the latter part of the decade, there was a steady flow of giant oil and gas field discoveries. Using the giant field designation criteria of 500 million bbl of oil recoverable for fields in Asiatic Russia, North Africa, and the Middle East,