New Orleans-based McMoRan Exploration Co. said this week that it has gauged more Gulf of Mexico deep shelf natural gas condensate discoveries and plans to soon ramp up production.

The independent plans to begin production in the fourth quarter from its King Kong discovery on Vermilion Blocks 16-17. The well, drilled to a total depth of 18,918 feet in 12 feet of water, tested at 20.6 MMcf/d of gas and 3,600 bbl/d of condensate, no water, from 34 net feet of perforations below 15,400 feet. Flowing tubing pressure was 7,400 psi at the end of the test on a 28/64 in. choke, and shut-in tubing pressure was 10,115 psi. Logs indicated the well cut 150 feet of net pay in 14 hydrocarbon-bearing sands.

McMoRan plans to spud the King Kong-2 development well updip, which was drilled to 13,750 feet, and then will evaluate sands in the discovery well. McMoRan is the operator with a 40% working interest.

The prospect is not related to the deepwater King Kong-Yosemite natural gas-condensate field, which went on production in February 2002 in 3,700 feet of water in the Green Canyon area.

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