"Big Bend Gulf Of Mexico Success, from Prospect to Production through Geoscience Integration"
Owen Stephens, Noble Energy
Big Bend is one of several recent discoveries made in Mississippi Canyon by Noble Energy and partners. Oil is contained in Lower Middle Miocene deepwater sandstones within a very high-relief combination structural/stratigraphic trap. This presentation will recount the subsurface analysis that drove the successful discovery and subsequent rapid development of the Big Bend Field.
Several techniques were used to de-risk Big Bend prior to drilling: Proprietarily processed WAz data provided meaningful uplift to the imaging adjacent and under salt, the DHI interpretation and migration velocities. This uplift increased the confidence in reservoir presence and quality. An improved velocity volume was used in the pore pressure analysis to assess column height and top seal potential, which helped mitigate containment risk. Chimney cube technology results confirmed migration pathway and thermogenic charge assumptions, as well as the leaky trap prediction from pore pressure analysis. Seismic inversion reduced concerns about reservoir and hydrocarbon presence. With the resulting increased confidence, the well drilled in late 2012,
discovering 130ft of high quality net oil pay.
After discovery, actively addressing the remaining field uncertainties allowed acceleration of both project sanction and first oil. Risk of the interpreted oil/water contact being a paleo-contact was reduced through fluid substitution modeling and geostatistical seismic inversion. An updated depositional model was created using sidewall core, conventional core from nearby analogs, image log analysis and seismic interpretation, reducing reservoir uncertainties and feeding into the reservoir model. This then guided a multi-phased reservoir modeling approach. First, a simple model provided production profiles for early project planning. Multiple deterministic cases were then used to assess volumetric and compartmentalization uncertainties. With those uncertainties understood, the development could be sanctioned as a single-well subsea tie-back, maximizing value by minimizing both appraisal costs and project costs, and accelerating first oil. The resulting early production history will allow further appraisal of field volumes and compartmentalization, in the upside case potentially justifying an additional producer and water injection.
Big Bend commenced production on October 26, 2015, less than three years from discovery and within the sanctioned budget, with production reaching over 20 Mboe/d.