American Oil and Gas Reporter - November 2016 - 54

Advanced
BHA Solution
Geosteers
Horizontal Wells
In Geologically
Complex Field

By John Chakalis, Andy Sims,
Shaikh Aamir Iqbal and Pavel Martinez

HOUSTON-West Delta 73 is one of the 10 largest fields on the Gulf of Mexico
Shelf, producing in excess of 375 million barrels of oil equivalent since its
discovery in 1962. Located in 175 feet of water, the field is a large, low-relief,
faulted anticline that produces from Pleistocene through Upper Miocene-age
sands structurally trapped at depths of 1,500 to 13,000 feet.
West Delta 73's complex geology includes fluvial valley and fluvial deltaic
system deposits. The field's operator, Energy XXI, initiated a two-rig horizontal
development program targeting multiple reservoirs, but it recognized that lateral
heterogeneity, thin oil columns (eight to 25 feet in true vertical thickness),
variable oil/water contacts (OWCs), weak seismic resolution, and uncertainty in
the depths of formation tops challenged landing and geosteering laterals in the
best-quality reservoir rock.
A multidisciplinary team was created to design and execute the West Delta 73
horizontal campaign. Geosteering in such a complex subsurface environment
required detailed analyses of the surrounding geology, and included detailed
modeling before landing each well to enable early visualizations of expected
challenges. Given the geological uncertainties, several modeling iterations were
needed to visualize as many lateral placement scenarios as possible.

54 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER



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