Drilling in the northern Gulf of Mexico continues at an impressive pace since its prospectivity continues to expand as greater depths are reached by the drilling technology. New Wilcox and Norphlet discoveries at 30,000+ depths are a frontier in exploration. Granted the discoveries are well above basement structure, but the statistics prove the basement structure has influences on the placement. Today seventy (70) percent of published oil/gas discoveries in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico correlate to basement structural highs or faults. This indicates the predictive value of basement studies
It is estimated that 80% of oil production over the next five years is projected to come from the shelf and deepwater regions of the Gulf.
These findings are analogous with producing basins around the world and support the view that hydrocarbon migration pathways are basement controlled. Today’s cost for seismic data acquisition for an optimum areal extent is $15 million. Completion cost for a deep target drilling operation is on average $1 million per 1,000 feet. This makes a strong case for the inclusion of all available data such as the basement structure in the analysis and economic assessment of prospective targets.