Factbox: Gulf projects hit by drilling moratorium

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – Despite a U.S. appeals court ruling against the White House’s deepwater moratorium, the future for oil companies drilling in the Gulf remains unclear.

Although the federal appeals court upheld the lower court’s rejection of a federal ban on deepwater drilling, the Obama administration has indicated it would quickly respond with a revised drilling moratorium. In the meantime, oil and gas companies are unlikely to resume deepwater drilling until a final decision is certain.

The initial 30-day ban on deepwater drilling was extended by at least six months as BP ramped up efforts to corral thousands of barrels of oil leaking into the Gulf each day from a ruptured deepwater well a mile beneath the water’s surface.

Planned wells affected by the ban could be exploratory, which search for oil and gas; appraisal, which evaluate what is found; and development, which could be a new production well at an established field or an injection well to boost existing production.

Here are examples of 2010 drilling operations by major Gulf producers that have been delayed by the ban:

BP

* Tiber: Potential exceeds 1 billion barrels of oil, but new well to appraise this September 2009 discovery nearly 7 miles down had to be postponed. Water depth: 4,132 feet. Location: Keathley Canyon Block 102, about 200 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas.

CHEVRON

* Buckskin: Potential oil deposit 300 feet thick nearly 6 miles down, but appraisal well to confirm postponed. Water depth: 8,920 feet. Location: Keathley Canyon 872, about 190 miles southeast of Houston.

* Moccasin: Promising seismic data, but exploratory well suspended. Water depth: 6,750 feet. Location: Keathley Canyon 736, about 190 miles southeast of Houston.

SHELL

* Tobago: Project capacity 100,000 barrels per day of oil and 20 million cubic feet of natural gas after production started in March, but new well to expand development postponed. Water depth: 9,627 feet. Location: Alaminos Canyon 859, about 220 miles south of Galveston.

* Vito: Potentially productive hydrocarbon deposit 600 feet thick 6 miles down, but new drilling to carry out appraisal, development postponed. Water depth: 4,038 feet. Location: Mississippi Canyon 984, about 150 miles southeast of New Orleans.

* Appomattox: Potentially productive oil deposit 530 feet thick 5 miles down but appraisal well to confirm its value postponed. Water depth: 7,127 feet. Location: Mississippi Canyon 392, about 170 miles southeast of New Orleans.

EXXON MOBIL

* Hadrian: Promising seismic data in Lower Tertiary play, 5-mile (8-km) deep well abandoned in 2005, new exploratory well with rig capable of reaching 7-mile (11-km) depth suspended. Water depth: 6,941 feet. Location: Keathley Canyon 919, about 293 miles southwest of New Orleans.

* Hoover/Diana: Development well postponed to sustain 10-year-old project’s production levels of 80,000 barrels per day of oil and 200 million cubic feet of gas. Water depth: 4,800 feet. Location: East Breaks 945, Alaminos Canyon 25, about 160 miles south of Galveston, Texas.

ANADARKO

* Lucius: Potential oil and gas deposit 600 feet (183 meter) thick in first appraisal well, but second appraisal well postponed. Water depth: 6,840 feet. Location: Keathley Canyon 875, about 195 miles southeast of Houston.

* Heidelberg: Potential of 200 feet (61 meter) thick oil deposit in this February 2009 discovery, but redrilling an appraisal well postponed. Water depth: 5,272 feet. Location: Green Canyon 903, about 190 miles southwest of New Orleans.

ATP OIL & GAS

* Telemark Hub: Potential oil and gas deposit 266 feet (81 meter) thick, platform capacity is 25,000 bpd of oil and 60 MMcfd of natural gas. Drilling delayed until early 2011 for production wells in Mirage and Morgus fields to be tied back to Telemark. Water depth 3,900 feet. Location: Hub in Atwater Canyon 63, Mirage and Morgus in Mississippi Canyon 941 and 942, about 170 miles southeast of New Orleans.

* Canyon Express Hub: Potential to raise gas production from 65 MMcfd to 500 MMcfd ultimately. Had planned to start additional well in second quarter. Water depth: 6,500 to 7,000 feet. Location: Mississippi Canyon 217 and 305, about 120 miles south of New Orleans.

* Gomez Hub: Potential to raise production from 4,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day to 20,000 barrels per day of oil and 100 million cubic feet of gas. Drilling later in 2010 and early 2011 on two production wells postponed. Water depth: 3,000 feet. Location: Mississippi Canyon 711, about 120 miles southeast of New Orleans.

Factbox: Gulf projects hit by drilling moratorium