Spectrum Provides Seismic Data of Eastern GOM Ahead of Lease Sales

On June 9, in Washington, a resolution was passed before a Senate committee to approve the opening of the eastern Gulf of Mexico for oil
and gas exploration. The provision was part of a broader energy bill passed in the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee which will end the drilling ban across most of the eastern Gulf waters and allow leasing outside a 45 mile buffer zone maintained off most of Florida's coast. This provision follows last year's announcement by Congress to end a quarter century old ban that prevented energy development along 85% of the nation's Outer Continental Shelf extending from New England to the Pacific Northwest.

This latest provision follows the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf(OCS) Oil and Gas leasing program (2010-2015) published by the US Department of the Interior Minerals Management Service (MMS) in January 2009. This draft program proposed a number of options for lease sales in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico in 2010, 2011 and 2013 respectively.

Spectrum has acquired and processed (some in partnership with TGS) 38,000 km of modern seismic data in the eastern Gulf of Mexico which allows oil companies to evaluate the prospectivity of this region ahead of the proposed lease sales. The data was acquired in two phases between 2006 and 2008 as part of Spectrum's "Big Wave" seismic program. Spectrum will soon re-commence acquisition in the next phase of Big Wave which is a further 12,000km of high quality, long offset seismic data. The acquisition of Big Wave Phase 2 will commence in July and is scheduled for completion in November. The survey has received excellent support and sponsorship from a number of major oil companies.

An analysis of Big Wave Phase 1 data along and outboard the Florida Escarpment, has revealed a number of possible hydrocarbon accumulations both on the platform area and in the deeper waters. The data was processed at Spectrum's Houston regional data processing and imaging center with a sequence which includes both Kirchhoff and Wave Equation pre stack depth migration (PSDM). This technique, together with display of the data in the depth domain gives geoscientists an excellent understanding of the geology in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The recent announcements are a positive step forward in allowing oil companies to fully explore the highly prospective Eastern Gulf of Mexico.