The deepwater drillship, Discoverer Deep Seas and deepwater drilling semi-submersible Cajun Express in the background on location at the Tahiti Field. (Photo Credit: Chevron) Operators can see in real time where the drill bit is relative to the earth strata, and can adjust drilling speed and direction. Chevron's version of this is the new Well Design and Execution Collaboration Center (WellDECC). Built and operated with Halliburton, Landmark Graphics, SperrySun and others it helps provide precise location and feedback to the drilling crews. Using this WellDECC technology, Chevron was recently able to penetrate the new Jack Field, which is located within the Lower Tertiary Trend in the Gulf of Mexico. According to industry analysts, 2006 was an exceptional year in terms of exploration in the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico. Estimates are that there were about 1.5B boe (Billion barrels of oil equivalent) discovered compared to less than 1Bboe in the previous two years. Success of 2006 is due to two potentially very large finds, one by BP and the other by Hess. Together these fields account for over half the reserves discovered in 2006 in the GOM. Couple those numbers with Chevron's Tahiti (150,000 bpd) and now the Jack field, and 2007 is also looking extremely good. Look for new exploratory drilling in the waters off China, Turkey, Western Africa (Angola), Brazil and Cuba. China has found a spot that may yield 2.2 billion barrels. Cuba has found a spot that may yield up to 4.6 billion barrels of oil. Turkey is inviting exploration in the Black Sea. The Western African shelf is now beginning to produce oil at an impressive clip. Rising oil prices and adoption of new technologies makes drilling for oil in deeper offshore locations feasible, and according to a July 2006 article in Technology Review, "the number of ultra-deep water projects in the Gulf of Mexico in more than 5,000 feet has more than doubled in the last two years. In the past 10 years, as inshore wells have slowed down, deepwater oil production has risen more than 840%." All of this suggests that the need for advanced technologies, including marine technologies will only increase. www.seadiscovery.com Marine Technology Reporter 43
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