Spectrum has commenced Phase 4 of the Big Wave Multi-Client seismic program in the eastern Gulf of Mexico just days after the Obama administration announced its eastern Gulf of Mexico lease proposal.
The new acquisition commenced on 4th April using the GGS Atlantic 2D seismic vessel. It comprises a key infill survey of over 12,000km and is designed to generate a tighter grid for prospect level mapping. Phase 4 will increase Spectrum's Eastern Gulf of Mexico coverage to 65,000km of long offset high quality seismic data.
This new infill acquisition coincides with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's announcement on the 31st March 2010 that the Obama administration will expand oil and gas development and exploration on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf: "The (US Department of the Interior) strategy calls for developing new areas offshore, exploring frontier areas, and protecting places that are too special to drill." said Salazar. "By providing order and certainty to offshore exploration...we are opening a new chapter for balanced and responsible oil and gas development here at home."
The Obama administration's strategy calls for expanded development and production throughout the Gulf of Mexico, including resource-rich areas of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico which are covered by the Big Wave program but are currently under Congressional Moratorium and closed to development.
"The plan we are proposing calls for 4 more lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico by 2012 and, in the years beyond, would open up two-thirds of the oil and gas resources in the Eastern Gulf while protecting Florida's coast and critical military training areas," said Salazar. "Our efforts to strategically open new areas in the Eastern Gulf would represent the largest expansion of our nation's available offshore oil and gas supplies in three decades."
Spectrum will continue using the GGS Atlantic for the Big Wave infill until a contracted 3rd party vessel arrives in the survey area during May. Thereafter, the GGS Atlantic will mobilise to Trinidad to commence a proprietary 3D programme. It is anticipated that the acquisition of Big Wave Phase 4 will be completed by the end of July 2010.
The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates that the Gulf of Mexico contains 36-41.5 billion barrels of undiscovered, economically recoverable oil and 161-207 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resources. Big Wave is adjacent to an area that already contains thousands of wells and hundreds of drilling platforms. The Big Wave Multi-Client program is across the richest single tract that would be open to drilling under the latest Obama plan. The attached seismic section from the Big Wave programme illustrates a number of prospective play types associated both with the mid-Cretaceous sequence boundary and also with the salt tectonics prevalent in the area.
The processing of the Big Wave data is being undertaken at Spectrum's state of the art regional data processing and imaging centre in Houston. It will be processed to exactly match the specifications of previous Big Wave data which were specifically customized to account for data variation across the Florida escarpment. Spectrum Geophysicists will be using a sequence which will include SRME and 2 passes of Radon demultiple as well as both pre stack time and pre stack depth migration (Kirchhoff and Wave Equation). This latest infill program has already attracted significant interest and secured pre-funding at satisfactory levels.
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