Shell Adds Another Mars Basin Discovery

Shell Exploration & Production Co. (SEPCo) has announced another deep water discovery in its Mars Basin. The company said Thursday it has encountered oil and gas at its Deimos prospect located in approximately 3,000 feet of water in Mississippi Canyon Block 806. SEPCo, as operator, has a 72% interest in the prospect; BP has a 28% interest.

Deimos is located adjacent to the huge Mars discovery, which has been produced through the Shell-operated Mars tension leg platform in Mississippi Canyon Block 807 since 1996. Additional drilling will be required to delineate the actual Deimos field potential.

"Oil was present in excess of 535 vertical net feet of sands, which included both exploratory sections and known producing field pays," remarked David Loughman, vice president exploration and development, SEPCo. "We are currently evaluating appraisal drilling options." The play also holds natural gas in proportion to other discoveries in the area. The Crosby field, in the southern part of the Mars Basin, went online early this year, producing 60,000 b/d of oil and 90 MMcf/d of gas (see Daily GPI, Jan. 22).

"This discovery reinforces the validity of our current exploration strategy," said Raoul Restucci, SEPCo CEO, "which includes both a vigorous greenfield component as well as a nearfield program, of which the Deimos discovery is an excellent example. We continue to be pleased with the richness in the Mars Basin. We have confirmed about two billion barrels so far in the Basin, with developments and discoveries such as Mars, Ursa, Crosby, Europa, King, Princess, and Deimos. This gives us strong encouragement regarding other similar prospects in our inventory."

Recently, Shell announced the discovery of Great White, a greenfield prospect located in Alaminos Canyon Block 857 in the prospective Perdido Foldbelt of the Western Gulf of Mexico.

The Deimos well was spudded by Transocean's Deepwater Nautilus in June 2002 and reached total depth in September.

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