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Murphy To Spud Deepwater Well in Salina Basin

By Conal Quinn | Wed, 09/14/2022 - 17:44

Murphy Oil is preparing to drill the deepwater Tulum-1EXP, where it hopes to locate estimated mean resources  of 152MMb off the coast of Tabasco. The US IOC’s Mexican subsidiary, Murphy Sur, received authorization from CNH earlier this year and expected to spud by August. However, Murphy Oil CEO Roger Jenkins assured analysts this month that the well “should be spud by October” after previous drilling activities with other operators took longer than expected. 

 The plan for Tulum-1EXP falls under the base scenario of the Exploration Plan amendment approved by CNH under resolution CNH.E.30.007/2022, on April 7, 2022. Murphy is targeting lower miocene and oligocene, and plansformations plans to drill Tulum-1EXP as a deviated well to a depth of 5,569m and expects to find  medium crude between 25° and 30° API.  The mean unrisked resources have been estimated at 152MMb, with a probability of geological success of 41 percent. The drilling and abandonment programs foresee a total of 61 days, of which 53 days will be allocated for drilling and eight are set aside for abandonment.

 Tulum-1EXP is the second exploratory well of the Block 5 consortium led by Murphy Sur, which holds 40 percent, with partners PC Carigali Mexico Operations, Petronas’ Mexican subsidiary, and Wintershall Dea holding 30 percent each. Block 5 was awarded in deepwater bidding round 1.4 in 2016, with Sierra Offshore originally awarded the 30 percent share now owned by Wintershall Dea. However, in 2018, Wintershall added all of Sierra Offshore’s interest in approximately 9,400km2 of offshore real estate, including its 40 percent share in the high-profile Zama discovery, to its existing Mexican portfolio when the German IOC acquired Sierra Offshore.

Block 5 is located in the center of the highly-touted Salina Basin, a deep water area in Mexico with significant hydrocarbon potential. Should Tulum-1EXP  provide satisfactory results, Murphy’s approved Exploration Plan considers in its incremental scenario the possibility to drill two further exploration wells during the current exploration period, potentially including prospects such as Comitán-1EXP in the Upper Miocene formation and Batopilas-1EXP in the Lower Miocene.

 To drill Tulum-1EXP,  the first sub-salt prospect to be drilled within the contractual area, Murphy plans to use the Valaris DPS-5 semi-submersible rig, currently deployed at the Balboa Field in the Ewing Bank Area of the US Gulf of Mexico for another operator. Murphy is an  established independent operator in the American waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, it should be well prepared to  transfer knowledge on infrastructure and reservoir development  to those found in the Salina Basin, and lead deepwater development in Mexico in the coming years. 

 Gabriel Gómez, Country Manager, Murphy Oil, will be presenting an overview of Murphy's upcoming exploration plans in Mexican deep waters at this year's Mexico Oil and Gas Summit.  Gómez will also be participating in the panel “Private Operators in Mexico’s Offshore Portfolio,” together with Andrés Brugmann, VP, Hokchi, and Javier Mund, Development Director and Energy Specialist, KPMG. To book your place at Mexico Oil and Gas Summit 2022, click here!


This article has been corrected on 19.09.2022

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Oil and Gas Magazine, Upstream, CNH
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Conal Quinn Conal Quinn Journalist & Industry Analyst