International Conference on Gas Hydrates (ICGH) (6th : 2008)

SITE SELECTION FOR DOE/JIP GAS HYDRATE DRILLING IN THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO Hutchinson, Deborah R.; Shelander, Dianna; Dai, Jianchun; McConnel, Dan; Shedd, William; Frye, Matthew; Ruppel, Carolyn; Boswell, Ray; Jones, Emrys; Collett, Timothy S.; Rose, Kelly; Dugan, Brandon; Wood, Warren; Latham, Tom


In the late spring of 2008, the Chevron-led Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrate Joint Industry Project (JIP) expects to conduct an exploratory drilling and logging campaign to better understand gas hydrate-bearing sands in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The JIP Site Selection team selected three areas to test alternative geological models and geophysical interpretations supporting the existence of potential high gas hydrate saturations in reservoir-quality sands. The three sites are near existing drill holes which provide geological and geophysical constraints in Alaminos Canyon (AC) lease block 818, Green Canyon (GC) 955, and Walker Ridge (WR) 313. At the AC818 site, gas hydrate is interpreted to occur within the Oligocene Frio volcaniclastic sand at the crest of a fold that is shallow enough to be in the hydrate stability zone. Drilling at GC955 will sample a faulted, buried Pleistocene channel-levee system in an area characterized by seafloor fluid expulsion features, structural closure associated with uplifted salt, and abundant seismic evidence for upward migration of fluids and gas into the sand-rich parts of the sedimentary section. Drilling at WR313 targets ponded sheet sands and associated channel/levee deposits within a minibasin, making this a non-structural play. The potential for gas hydrate occurrence at WR313 is supported by shingled phase reversals consistent with the transition from gas-charged sand to overlying gas-hydrate saturated sand. Drilling locations have been selected at each site to 1) test geological methods and models used to infer the occurrence of gas hydrate in sand reservoirs in different settings in the northern Gulf of Mexico; 2) calibrate geophysical models used to detect gas hydrate sands, map reservoir thicknesses, and estimate the degree of gas hydrate saturation; and 3) delineate potential locations for subsequent JIP drilling and coring operations that will collect samples for comprehensive physical property, geochemical and other analyses

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