September 12, 2006

Deepwater Drilling

A few days ago, I wrote about the massive oil find off the coast of Louisiana National Geographic has a good article on deepwater drilling:
Deepwater Drilling May Open New Oil Frontiers
Oil companies are buzzing after Chevron, Devon Energy, and Norway-based Statoil ASA last week announced the successful discovery of oil at a staggering depth beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

Jack 2, as the new test well is called, extends downward for more than five miles (eight kilometers).

The well delves through 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) of seawater and more than 20,000 feet (6,100 meters) of seafloor to strike oil in the lower tertiary formation—a layer of rock laid down between 65 million and 24 million years ago.

The find, potentially the United States' largest in four decades, could yield from 3 to 15 billion barrels of crude oil. Even though the top estimate would not do much to slake the nation's growing thirst for fuel, it could boost existing U.S. reserves by 50 percent.

But experts suggest that the cutting-edge technologies used to create and operate the well are far more important than any single oil find.

Such technologies could open access to previously unattainable oil across the globe. And high oil prices are making the enormous startup costs worth the gamble.

"It's giving folks greater confidence to explore in the deepwater Gulf region," said Judson Jacobs, director of upstream technology for Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Gulf is hardly unique, he adds. Other promising deepwater locations await exploration off the coasts of Brazil, the United Kingdom, West Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Very cool article but I really wish people would stop doing the 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) style of scientific journalism. Excuse me but the 7,000 foot figure has got to be an approximation and to then take that number and say that the depth is exactly 2,134 Meters is numerical fraud. The article goes into some of the problems that they had finding the site, there was a salt deposit that "tricked" the seismic plots so they almost missed it. There seem to be a number of other areas worth looking at so I think we can put Mr. M. King Hubbert up there on the shelf along with all the other Malthusians. Ha Ha... Posted by DaveH at September 12, 2006 9:50 PM