Two deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) development projects, Droshky and Ozona, which initially may book a total of 29 million boe of natural gas and oil proved reserves, will move forward following approval by Marathon Oil Corp.

Marathon said Thursday that its board of directors had approved spending $1.3 billion for the Droshky development and $300 million for the Ozona project.

"As we continue to strengthen Marathon's Gulf of Mexico portfolio, the Droshky development will add profitable production and contribute significantly to our near- and long-term growth," said CEO Clarence P. Cazalot Jr.

At net peak production, Droshky's output after royalties is expected to be around 45,000 b/d of oil and 43 MMcf/d of natural gas. The discovery, in 2,900 feet of water in Green Canyon Block 244, is about 140 miles south-southwest of Venice, LA, and about 18 miles southeast of Royal Dutch Shell's Bullwinkle platform.

Droshky would consist of four development wells, which would be tied back to Bullwinkle. The Noble Paul Romano rig was secured to begin drilling in 2009, and first production is targeted for 2010.

The initial Droshky discovery well and two sidetracks were drilled in 2007 to a total depth of 21,190 feet (see Daily GPI, May 31, 2007). A second delineation and sidetrack well were drilled earlier this year. Marathon holds a 100% working interest in Droshky.

The Ozona discovery is in 3,000 feet of water on Garden Banks Block 515, about 175 miles southeast of Sabine, TX, and about six miles from Shell's Auger platform. The Noble Jim Day rig was contracted to complete one previously drilled appraisal well, which would be tied back to the Auger platform.

Ozona's first production is expected in 2011, with an anticipated net peak rate of about 6,000 b/d of oil and 13 MMcf/d of gas, after royalties. Marathon holds a 68% stake in Ozona; Marubeni obtained the remaining 32% working interest following a transaction with Pioneer Natural Resources Co. two years ago (see Daily GPI, March 30, 2006).

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