Pioneer Natural Resources Company in conjunction with its partner, Dominion Exploration and Production, Inc., announced that they have approved the development of the Devils Tower field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Oil production is scheduled to begin in 2003. The Devils tower field is located approximately 140 miles southeast of New Orleans in 5,610 feet of water in Mississippie Canyon 773. The field will be developed using a truss spar with slots for eight dry tree wells and the flexibility to accommodate future subsea tie-backs. SparTec, Inc., a division of J. Ray McDermott, has been contracted to provide the spar that will be the eighth production spar in the Gulf of Mexico. At this water depth, the spar will be the world's deepest dry tree platform. Oil equivalent reserves are estimated to be 50 to 75 million barrels. Pioneer has a 25% working interest in the field and Dominion operates the field and has a 75% working interest.
Two development wells at Devils Tower have just been completed with the MC 773 #4 well penetrating approximately 350 feet of net pay in five sands within a previously untested fault block. The MC 773 #5 and #5 sidetrack extended the hydrocarbon column in six previously penetrated sands and contained over 400 feet of net pay. These wells were drilled by Noble Drilling's semisubmersible, Noble Max Smith. Both wells will be temporarily abandoned and completed as producers upon installation of the spar.