Who Dat Trumps Post-Macondo Obstacles

Who Dat Trumps Post-Macondo Obstacles

The Who Dat development, located in Mississippi Canyon Blocks 503 and 547 in 2,999 feet (914 meters) of water, has overcome many obstacles post-Macondo and achieved many "firsts" for offshore development, commented a panel of seven for the development of the Who Dat field at the Offshore Technology Conference 2012.

Who Dat, primarily an oil field consisting of nine stacked, amplitude-supported reservoirs in a salt withdrawal mini-basin in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, was discovered in December 2007. The discovery well and two appraisal wells targeted reservoirs ranging in depths from 12,000 to 17,000 feet TVD. Collectively, the three wells penetrated more than 700 feet (213 meters) of net pay in nine distinct reservoirs. It is believed the field holds more than 300 million barrels of oil equivalent

In the first presentation, "The 'Who Dat' development: Evolution of a Project from Lease Sale to First Production," Eric Zimmermann, Geologist at LLOG Exploration Company, noted that in the Who Dat development, it was the first time:

  • a private company owned an FPS
  • the OPTI-EX semisub FPS is being used in the GOM
  • an FPS has been approved for installation post-Macondo
  • an FPS has been built on speculation
  • a field has gone from concept selection to installation of a new FPS in less than a year

However, this unique development presented many challenges to LLOG, said Zimmermann, notably the OPTI-Ex FPS design and review was occurring in the critical time of post- Macondo. LLOG was in the middle of drilling the second delineation well in 2010 when the drilling moratorium in the GOM was imposed.

"It was not clear when or if development in the GOM would resume," Zimmermann said.

As a result, the U.S. Coast Guard refused to review the new design so the company hired ABS to help inspect and approve the facility so development could continue while the industry was at a standstill.

Furthermore, LLOG had to be the first to deal with the developing and changing regulations following the Macondo event.

"Clearly, BOEM's responsibility and visibility increased, and that motivated us to be more vigilant, making triple and quadruple checks of our plan and permit applications," he said.

"By being in this unique situation, it allowed both companies Exmar and LLOG to become accustomed with the new system operations, and the ability for an increase audit process, allowing for the fast-track project to remain on schedule," E.J. Robison of Exmar Offshore Company said in the presentation "Regulatory Compliance Issues for the LLOG Who Dat Floating Production Unit".

The companies, Exmar and LLOG, agreed on the FPU arrangement in August 2010, and the vessel was on station in the field in less than a year.

On Dec. 9, 2011, four years after the initial discovery, LLOG commenced production from the field. LLOG said it is ramping up production and expects to achieve a rate of 20,000 barrels of oil per day and 22 million cubic feet per day from the three existing wells.


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