9: Discovery of a Bolivian Foothills Giant Gas Field: Incahuasi
Jean-Claude Heidmann, Jacques Durand, Philippe Mallard, Jean-Francois Ballard, Jean-Marc Moron, 2017. "Discovery of a Bolivian Foothills Giant Gas Field: Incahuasi", Giant Fields of the Decade 2000–2010, R. K. Merrill, C. A. Sternbach
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This chapter will address the innovative and bold exploration approach that has led the French company Total and its Argentinean partner Tecpetrol to achieve what is one of the largest gas discoveries of the south Bolivian sub-Andean basin of the 2000–2010 decade.
This discovery, named Incahuasi, is the result of multidisciplinary teamwork covering a period of 4 years from the initial geological concept definition to the drilling and testing of the discovery well Incahuasi-X1.
The overall approach can be summarized as a combination of controlled risk decision making based on a regional geological knowledge and the development of new techniques such as the definition of dedicated biostratigraphy charts. This approach enabled the multidisciplinary team to manage most of the uncertainties attached to this specific foothills context and define a workflow that led to success.
The successful testing of the Incahuasi-X1 exploration well in 2004 led to a multi-tcf discovery currently under development. Located more than 120 km (75 mi) north of the existing Devonian gas fields, it opened a new exploration domain. It also highlights the benefit of a multidisciplinary and innovative approach in challenging areas such as the fold belts from prospect generation to discovery in a time constraint domain.