2018 Offshore Technology Yearbook

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24 | December 2017 | Global Exploration Takes an Upward Turn 2018 OFFSHORE TECHNOLOGY YEARBOOK | EXPLORATION Operators test the boundaries of established plays as well as promising new areas following a year of marginal exploration activity. By Judy Murray, Contributing Editor T he level of exploration activity in 2017 was a welcome change from the previous year. Although operating companies were still juggling the numbers to determine what plays were likely to be most profitable, they were willing to move forward to explore a number of resource basins around the world, some of which were seeing a drillbit for the first time. Mexico shows its colors Deregulation in Mexico resulted in much needed exploration in 2017. This high-potential energy sector attracted international investment from companies encouraged by the transparent process with the national hydrocarbons com- mission, Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos, extensive datasets available for bidders, well- defined work programs and large tracts of acre- age in proven basins. Talos Energy and Premier Oil, in partnership with Sierra Oil and Gas (Mexico's first indepen- dent oil company), bought acreage in the first bid round in 2015. The partners spudded the Zama-1 exploration well in May, drilling what would be the first exploration well on acreage awarded in that bid round and the first offshore explora- tion well drilled by the private sector in Mexico's history. And it turned up big. This discovery on Block 7 in the shallow-water Sureste Basin, 37 miles offshore Tabasco State, holds an estimated 1.4 Bbbl to 2.0 Bbbl of oil. Pemex was busy in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) as well, testing an ultradeepwater play in the Cin - turón Plegado Perdido area near Shell's Perdido Field, where more than 30 Bbbl of oil is estimated to lie on the Mexican side. The Doctus-1 well, drilled 90 miles offshore in more than 5,000 ft water depth not only confirmed the existence of oil, but proved the NOC's capabilities in new and highly complex plays. In September, the company began looking for a partner to help develop the Nobilis-Maximino deepwater area in the Perdido Fold Belt, 25 miles from BHP-operated Trion Field and 16 miles from Shell's Great White, in 10,000 ft water depth. This 1,528 sq mi play holds 3P reserves of 502 MMboe, with estimated production of 300,000 bbl/d. More activity is anticipated in 2018. US GoM still turning up deepwater plays The U.S. sector of the GoM saw several discov- eries in 2017, all of them in deep and ultradeep water. LLOG hit with its Mormont and Khaleesi wells in the Green Canyon Block, finding smaller reserves similar to its earlier Delta House devel- opments. Anadarko had a small discovery in the Green Canyon Block as well with the Calpurnia well near its Holstein development. And Deep Gulf Energy Companies Corp. reported a find in

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