Henry S. Pettingill, 2006. "Global Overview of Deepwater Exploration and Production", Introduction to the Petroleum Geology of Deepwater Setting, Paul Weimer, Roger M. Slatt, Renaud Bouroullec, Richard Fillon, Henry Pettingill, Matthew Pranter, Gabor Tari
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Exploration and production in deep water (500–2000 m [1640–6560 ft]) and ultradeep water (>2000 m [6560 ft]) have expanded greatly during the past 15 years, to the point at which they are now major components of the petroleum industry’s annual upstream budget. Most E&P activity has concentrated in only three areas of the world: the northern Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and West Africa. Globally, deep water remains an immature frontier, with many deepwater sedimentary basins being only lightly explored.
Deepwater discoveries account for less than 5% of the current worldwide total oil-equivalent resources1 although this amount is increasing rapidly. These resources are predominantly oil and are concentrated in non-OPEC countries; thus, deep water represents an important component of the world’s future oil equation. Gas exploration in deep water is extremely immature, reflecting current infrastructure and economic limitations, but it is also destined to become a major focus in the future.
Although the global deepwater play was initially restricted to a few large major companies, progressively smaller companies have become involved throughout time. Presently, even large- or medium-size companies must understand the geologic, engineering, and economic characteristics of the deepwater play. Generally, smaller companies are exploring in areas where (1) major infrastructure already exists, and consequently they are able to operate, and/or (2) they can be a partner with a limited working interest, thus limiting their financial risk while still exposing them to potentially high rewards.
This chapter presents an overview of exploration and development in deepwater
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Introduction to the Petroleum Geology of Deepwater Setting
This publication is intended to provide the working geologist, geophysicist, and petroleum engineer with a broad overview of the petroleum systems of deepwater settings. Deepwater depositional systems are the one type of reservoir system that cannot be easily reached, observed, and studied in the modern environment, in contrast to other siliciclastic and carbonate reservoir systems. The study of deepwater systems requires many different remote observation techniques, each of which can only provide information on one part of the entire depositional system. As a consequence, the study and understanding of deepwater depositional systems as reservoirs has lagged behind that of the other reservoir systems, whose modern processes are more easily observed and documented. For this reason, geoscientists use an integrated approach, working in interdisciplinary teams with multiple data types. The types of data used in the study of deepwater deposits include: outcrop studies, 2D and 3D seismic-reflection data (both for shallow and deep resolution), cores, conventional and specialized log suites, biostratigraphy, and well test and production information. These data sets are routinely incorporated into computer reservoir modeling programs for production performance simulation and forecasting. Technologies for deepwater exploration and development are improving rapidly. The intent of this publication is to provide information that will be usable even as the technologies advance beyond what we present here.