Friday, December 5, 2008

Shell Breaks Subsea Drilling Record

Shell oil well in Gulf sets undersea record. (Hat tip: Anaconda)

HOUSTON - Shell Oil Co. said Tuesday it has set a world water-depth record by drilling and completing an oil well in 9,356 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico.

The well is part of Shell's Perdido Development project about 200 miles south of Houston. It easily topped the previous record of 6,950 feet - also set by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has completed natural-gas wells in about 9,000 feet of water in the Gulf.

Production at Perdido is scheduled to begin around 2010. Shell says the project, which dates to a lease sale in 1996, will be capable of producing 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Deepwater drilling in the Gulf dates to 1979 when Shell began production, but development really didn't take off until the 1990s as technological advancements made it more feasible.

Shell didn't disclose Perdido's costs, but such ventures can cost billions of dollars.


Anaconda said...


In that deep of water it was never in "shallow, stagnant water."

Of course, that doesn't tell the reader how deep the oil deposits are below the sea-floor.

Deeper than 15,000 feet.

Yes, sure this is all predicted by "fossil" theory.

And I got some land in Florida...

This was an insightful comment and report a while back by another commenter, SavagedImage:

"Yesterday a guy called the state public radio station after the host brought up ultra-deep drilling without really knowing much about the topic. The caller was lucky enough to follow up with a question and ask the guest Bert Dickas, a retired UW-Superior Petroleum Geologist who also worked for Mobile Oil and Standard Oil, about a trend he is reading about oil companies deploying the ultra-deep drilling technologies. He used Petrobras as the example, and asked the guest if he believed this is the result of technology and theories developed in the former Soviet Union. To my amazement Bert said “I understand your question and the answer is yes.” “What we thought in the 50’s” – I took that to mean Peak Oil – “no longer applies.” He also went on to say the Petrobras find was enormous because they punched through the salt layer. He indicated 50 years ago no one believed oil could exist below the salt layer, but today we know different.

The beauty of it was no one mentioned Abiotic/Abiogenic or Peak Oil. It was understood. I give that radio station kudos for actually engaging in the discussion. The host became interested and again asked his own questions about ultra-deep technology."

Anaconda said...


Today, ask an oil geologist in a neutral way what he thinks of Abiotic Oil theory and most likely he will quickly scoff and wave the question off, maybe even ridicule you for asking the question.

But show detailed knowledge of the subject, and he might admit that there is abiotic oil, but that it exists in only small non-commercial quantities.

Press the oil geologist about Serpentinization of peridotites, or hydrothermal oil and likely the oil geologist will give you a squinted, quizzical eyed glare, reassessing his questioner and choosing his words carefully.

Openly challenge him on why serpentinization of periodites would be limited to small non-commercial quanities and if he doesn't turn his back and walk away, he likely will tell you how there are no "conduits" or "migration mechanisms" for abiotic oil to get into sedimentary oil traps and that no oil has been "undisputably" proven as abiotic oil.

Remind, the oil geologist that around 65% of giant and super giant oil deposits are in sedimentary basins located above tectonic faults and fracture zones, and he will start to ask how you happen to know all this information (if you even get this far in the discussion).

Finally, raise the subject of subsalt oil and the oil geologist will stand quiet waiting to hear how much you know about subsalt oil.

Outline the thickness of the salt, the depth of the water, the depth of the oil deposit below the sea-floor, and finally, the temperature of the oil deposit (off the coast of Brazil) and the oil geologist will stand and stare at you then either walk away or say, "I can't talk to you."

Unless he is a retired oil geologist that is, and in which case there will be a knowing nod of the head and perhaps he'll say something like: "“What we thought in the 50’s no longer applies. We learned a lot from the Russians in the early 90's about deep drilling and their theories of deep oil. But when we punched through the salt layer off the coast of Brazil, everybody in the business knew what that meant. 50 years ago no one believed oil could exist below the salt layer, but today we know different," and with great candor he might ad, "Fossil theory is no more than a public relations posture, anybody who has any real knowledge inside the industry knows it doesn't hold up, anymore. Sure, there are greenhorns who still beleive in fossil fuels; the reality isn't trumpeted in the industry, but the pros know what the score is."

And if the retired oil geologist is a confident man, secure in his retirement, you can ask him if it would be a good thing the public knew about abiotic oil. The retired oil geologist with a glimmer and a twinkle in his eye would smile and say, "Yes, it's not healthy for an industry to be living a lie."

And with that he would turn and cast into the cold Montana stream with his fly fishing rod and wait for that hoped for bite, playing his line smiling to himself, feeling the burdens of life melt from his shoulders.

Anaconda said...

POSTSCRIPT: Confront the oil geologist about laboratory experiments that demonstrate serpentinization of peridotites, and initially he might deny there are experiments.

But there are experiments: Oil Is Mastery post, University of Minnesota Seminar On Abiotic Hydrocarbons, september 3,2008 --

"Research scientist Qi Fu of the University of Minnesota will be leading a seminar on Abiotic Hydrocarbons this Friday: LPI Seminar Series: Experimental investigations on abiotic formation of hydrocarbons under hydrothermal conditions."

After carefully explaining the demonstration to the oil geologist, he likely will revert to the idea that abiotic oil is only produced in limited non-commercial quantities.

Then ask the oil geologist what is the "limiting factor" considering the constituent minerals for serpentinization of peridotites are common in the deep crust and shallow mantel.

This likely will bring only silence.

Sometimes, silence is golden, in this instance silence is "black gold."

Anaconda said...

SECOND POSTSCRIPT: The salt layer, how did it get there?

It is possible you might get what people call a "tough monkey" oil geologist, who will say the salt layer was deposited by evaporation and since it was laid down by evaporation, there obviously were "shallow stagnant seas", so that organic detritus could sink to the bottom of, explaining how "fossil" theory oil generation happens.

The oil geologist might even have a smug look of satisfaction on his face as he's "explaining" this to you.

Pause a beat, then remind him the salt layer is thousands of feet below the sea bottom, in an area thousands of feet under water, that the geological record exhibits no evidence for this super-low sea level, in fact, all the geologic evidence points to higher sea levels with fossil fish and clams up on the continents with abundant evidence of "inland seas" and that no reputable geologist disagrees.

The oil geologist might respond with, "How did the salt layer get down there then?" Again, with a slight smile on his face.

Respond with "supercritical water." and explain how seawater under immense pressure and heat becomes "like a plasma" and drops the salt out of solution and this process deposits the salt layer. Point out an oil geologist discovered this process of salt deposition.

At that point, the oil geologist likely will shake his head and walk away. If he's a good man, he'll say, "thanks for the information," before walking away.

But don't think this exchange has gone for naught. If the oil geologist is a "wide-eyed greenhorn", he might actually think about it and do research and as these comments have shown, the backup authority is available on the internet. If he's an old pro -- he'll know you can't be "buffaloed".

Now either the greenhorn or the old pro might keep the conversation to himself, but they might share with a fellow colleague or report to some superior that in a relatively short conversation, a member of the general public refuted "fossil" theory and demonstrated Abiotic Oil theory.

That would be a good thing. The more oil geologists know they can't "buffalo" the general public about the origin of oil, the more likely the oil industry will admit the truth.

Oil is abiotic.

Anaconda said...


"An intriguing theory now permeating oil company research staffs suggests that crude oil may actually be a natural inorganic product, not a stepchild of unfathomable time and organic degradation. The theory suggests there may be huge, yet-to-be-discovered reserves of oil at depths that dwarf current world estimates." -- Chris Bennett, environmental engineer, 2004

I know the quote is four years old, but better late than never!

Because...oil geologists who work for oil companies are professionals.

Professionals don't let bias and prejudice get in the way of doing their job at the highest possible level.

That means running down ALL the evidence that supports a theory which if true (I'm convinced it is), does mean substantially increased supplies of hydrocarbons.

The question is: Which companies are going to find it?