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Here is a good article on the latest from the oil patch: ExxonMobil Announces Three Discoveries in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

I’m not going to name any names, but there has been some stupid reporting on this in the last couple of days. Note to self: Write a primer on how not to report an oil discovery. For now, my request to people doing so is to make it somewhere between “Look at me in my domestic-drilling cheerleading outfit and oil-soaked pompoms” and “The eeeevil ooze comes from a giant container in the ground which we suck out through a straw.”

Prospects are named way before they are drilled. This one was already named years ago – Hadrian. It sits 250 miles southwest of New Orleans, at 7000 feet water depth and the prospect itself is of Lower Pliocene age, which I approximate as 15,000-20,000 feet subsea. I gather Hadrian was slated to drill this time last year but was put on hold by the moratorium. A huge find by Gulf of Mexico standards, but don’t believe the rest of the hype about billions and billions of barrels behind it.

Update: The “possible tens of billions of barrels” confusion arises from the fact that Reuters is reporting the Hadrian sands as Lower Tertiary in age, when in fact they are Lower Pliocene. How to report an oil discovery Tip #1: Get yourself a geologic time scale and look it over.

8 comments… add one
  • Brian Romans June 9, 2011, 12:58 PM

    they always hype this stuff up … good for Wall Street buzz

    • Maitri June 9, 2011, 1:48 PM


      Hype is one thing. There are also articles and blogs written by people who know nothing about the oil industry and write nonsense statistics in an authoritative tone of voice. “This find is at 7000 feet.” No, the well was drilled where the water depth is 7000 feet.

      • Brian Romans June 9, 2011, 4:11 PM

        totally … makes you wonder how inaccurate all the other stuff we read about is

  • Cousin Pat from Georgia June 9, 2011, 4:43 PM

    I would love to read that primer.

    Consequently, isn’t it interesting that both the pro-drill crowd and the anti-oil crowd seemed to think the exact same erroneous things on this issue? People I’ve spoken to recently about this news were confused that any oil companies were being allowed near the Gulf of Mexico at all after the “shakedown.”

    “I thought the President stopped all the oil drillin’ in the Gulf,” from my friends on the right, “that’s why gasoline prices are so high.”

    “I thought we had a moratorium on oil production in the Gulf,” from my friends on the left, “that’s why gasoline prices are so high.”


  • Ryan June 10, 2011, 12:33 PM

    Hey Maitri – sorry in advance for the oilfield related question, but is this that tight low perm stuff?? Also, sorry for the geologic ignorance.

    Hope Houston is treating you guys well.

    • Maitri June 10, 2011, 12:37 PM

      No, I hear it’s pretty good stuff.

      Houston is alright so far – fair number of friends and social activity. Just not crazy about any possible hurricane evacuations, but ’tis the price one pays.

      • Ryan June 10, 2011, 1:25 PM

        That’s the great thing about Malaysia. No natural disasters to worry about where we are. We do miss home though. We’ll be back mid December thru mid January, I can’t wait.

      • Maitri June 10, 2011, 2:12 PM

        When are y’all moving back? And don’t apologize for the geologic ignorance because I need a lot of help with reservoir and drilling engineering. That’s “downstream” for me. :-)

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