Alaminos Canyon Block 772
Shell Oil Co. is drilling a second Lower Tertiary test on the company’s ultradeepwater Whale project. It is located in Alaminos Canyon Block 772 at 2 OCS G35153, and area water depth is 2,591 m (8,500 ft). A successful completion could confirm Shell’s Whale discovery, which according to the company, is one of the largest Gulf of Mexico discoveries in the past decade—1 (BP) OCS G35153 hit more than 427 m (1,400 net ft) of oil-bearing pay. Total depth is 7,007 m (22,988 ft). To the north, adjacent Block 728 (OCS G31195) is also part of Shell’s Whale project. The company has drilled two tests on the tract with few details available.

Green Canyon Block 282
A deepwater sidetrack well has been scheduled by Talos Energy LLC in the company’s producing Boris Field. The 3SS (ST) OCS G16727 will be drilled in Green Canyon Block 282. Last reported depth was 4,070 m (13,354 ft). According to the permit for the sidetrack, the original hole will be kicked off at 3,194 m (10,478 ft). Water depth is 716 m (2,350 ft).

Ship Shoal Block 336
GulfSlope Energy Inc. is active at a bypass on the company’s Tau prospect. The subsalt exploratory test, 1 (BP) OCS G36121, is being drilled by a jackup. The subsalt exploratory test is in the southwestern portion of Ship Shoal Block 336 (OCS G35244). The planned bottomhole location is to the south in Block 351. The permit indicates that the bypass would be kicked off from the original hole at 1,493 m (4,900 ft). According to the company, the exploratory test is targeting multiple Miocene sand levels trapped against a well-defined, angled flank of the large salt structure.

Walker Ridge Block 595
Shell Oil Corp. has planned a sidetrack well for an exploratory test on the Stones Southwest prospect in the company’s Stones Field. The 1 (ST) OCS G36088 will be in the western portion of Walker Ridge Block 595. According to the permit, the original hole will be kicked off at 6,839 m (22,437 ft). Work on the original hole began in July 2018. Water depth in the area is 2,987 m (9,800 ft). IHS Markit reported that Block 595 and neighboring Walker Ridge Block 594 (OCS G36087) to the west make up Shell’s Stones Southwest prospect. The prospect’s exploration plan indicates that as many as nine tests could be drilled from various surface locations on the tracts. Wells in the Stones Field yield crude at depths of about 8,077 m (26,500 ft) in the Lower Tertiary.

South Pelto Block 16
A shallow-water exploratory test has been spud by EnVen Energy on South Pelto Block 16 offshore Louisiana. The 1 OCS G35607 is being drilled in the northwestern portion of the block in 17 m (56 ft) of water. Navitas Petroleum originally acquired the lease in March 2018 at OCS Sale 235, and EnVen acquired a 50% stake in the lease in June 2018 and now serves as operator of the project. According to IHS Markit, several tests have been drilled on Block 16 under previous leases. The lone producer on the tract, Chevron’s 1 (BP) OCS G01234, was online for about one year in the 1970s. The well is producing from Upper Miocene at 3,693 m to 3,699 m (12,118 ft to 12,136 ft) and recovery totaled 311,485 cu. m (111 MMcf) of gas, 7,090 bbl of condensate and 187,000 bbl of water and was a part of the South Timbalier Block 52 Field.

South Timbalier Block 311
In the South Timbalier Block 311 Field, Walter Oil & Gas Corp. is drilling a third development test at 3-A OCS G24990 from the existing A platform in the northern portion of South Timbalier Block 311 (OCS G31418). According to the permit, the development venture will bottom to the south in Block 320. Water depth in the area is 119 m (392 ft). Nearby production is in Block 311 at the company’s 1-A OCS G31418 lease, which was completed in mid-2018. The 6,003-m (19,694-ft) well has recovered 322.8 MMcm (11.4 Bcf) of gas and 1.4 MMbbl of condensate from Middle Miocene at 5,593 m to 5,608 m (18,350 ft to 18,400 ft).

Green Canyon Block 389
According to IHS Markit, LLOG Exploration Co. plans to expand the company’s Khaleesi project in Green Canyon 389 in the Gulf of Mexico. The exploration plan indicates that two more tests could be drilled from offsetting surface locations in the southeastern portion of Green Canyon Block 389, bottoming to the south beneath previously undrilled Block 433 (OCS G35867). Area water depth is 1,097 m (3,600 ft). The Khaleesi discovery well, 1 (BP) OCS G35865, was drilled in 2017 in Block 389 and bottomed to the east beneath Block 390.

Mississippi Canyon Block 562
BP is drilling a second test in the company’s producing Isabela Field in the northeastern portion of Mississippi Canyon Block 562 at 2 OCS G19966. Water depth in the area is 1,951 m (6,400 ft).  The development test is known as BP’s Isabela 2 project. The company’s Isabela Field discovery was made in 2007 from an offsetting surface location. The discovery well, 1 (BP) OCS G19966, was drilled to 5,898 m (19,350 ft). Production is from an Upper Miocene zone at 5,751 m to 5,779 m (18,868 ft to 18,960 ft). Since coming online in 2012, recovery from the well through mid-2018 is 14.2 MMbbl of crude and 334 MMcm (11.8 Bcf) of gas.

Viosca Knoll Block 823
A development test is planned by W&T Offshore Inc. to expand the company’s Virgo Field. The 13-A 3 OCS G16549 will be drilled from the A platform in the western half of Viosca Knoll Block 823. It will bottom to the southwest in Viosca Knoll Block 822, and area water depth is 345 m (1,132 ft). The company’s 12-A OCS G35803 has been drilled and bottomed to the northwest in Viosca Knoll Block 779. The most recent field well was completed in April 2018 at 10-A (ST) OCS G16549, which bottomed beneath Block 823 in Miocene at 4,925 m to 4,981 m (16,158 ft to 16,343 ft). The sidetrack gas well was drilled to 5,111 m (16,770 ft), with 4,109 m (13,482 ft) true vertical depth. Recovery during the well’s first three months online totals 7.9 MMcm (280 MMcf) of gas and 35,359 bbl of condensate.

Mississippi Canyon Block 257
LLOG Exploration has added a second deepwater test to the company’s Red Zinger project drilling program in the Gulf of Mexico. The 2 OCS G35325 will be in Mississippi Canyon Block 257, and area water depth is 1,768 m (5,800 ft). The offsetting Red Zinger discovery, 1 (ST) OCS G35325, was drilled in 2016 to 5,791 m (19,000 ft). The Miocene discovery is expected to be tied back to the Delta House floating production facility on Block 254.

Mississippi Canyon Block 82
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is underway at a development test in the company’s Horn Mountain Field (as of March 20). The 8 OCS G18194 is in Mississippi Canyon Block 82 (OCS G35313), and it is expected to bottom to the south in Block 126. Water depth in the area is 1,311 m (4,300 ft). In 2018 the company won exploration plan approval to drill as many as 16 tests from various surface locations on Block 81 (OCS G35312), Block 82 and Block 126. There has been no production to date from blocks 81 and 82.