Field/project development

Hess Reels in Pickerel Discovery in Gulf of Mexico

The Pickerel-1 well encountered 90 ft of high-quality oil-bearing Miocene reservoir and will be tied back to the Tubular Bells production facilities.

Gulf of Mexico
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Hess will tie back its Pickerel-1 oil discovery in the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico to its Tubular Bells facilities, the US independent said in its second-quarter earnings call on 26 July.

The Hess-operated infrastructure-led exploration (ILX) well is on Mississippi Canyon Block 727 and encountered about 90 ft of net pay in a high-quality oil-bearing Miocene-aged reservoir.

Regarding the size of the discovery, Greg Hill, the chief operating officer for Hess, noted during the call that the well is still under evaluation and deferred giving a resource estimate at this time. However, he added that the discovery will be “an extremely profitable, ILX tieback with very low find and development costs.”

The company said long-lead construction activities are underway for the field, with production expected to begin mid-2024.

Pickerel is the second fish-named tieback to the Tubular Bells facility, with its Esox tieback being the first. Both are freshwater fish species more commonly known as pike.

Pickerel was the first well of the company’s Gulf of Mexico drilling program. Hess is planning to drill its Black Pearl well, which it is the operator and holder of 25% interest. Chevron, CNOOC, and Equinor each hold a 25% interest in the prospect. The well is planned as a tieback to Hess’ Stampede production facility.

Hess said that following Black Pearl, it plans to drill the Vancouver prospect located in Green Canyon Block 287, a large hub-class prospect targeting a subsalt Miocene-aged reservoir. Hess is the operator with a 40% working interest, with Shell and Chevron holding 30% each.

Regarding the company’s ILX program in the Gulf of Mexico, Hill credits two seismic advances that have helped deliver results.

“We are shooting ocean-bottom node surveys in and around our hubs. And that is coupled with full waveform inversion, or FWI; combining those two things allows us to see new opportunities in subsalt in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Hill.

“That's not only true for in and around our hubs but also for hub-class opportunities. We've got over 80 blocks in the Gulf of Mexico. With that inventory, we aim to maintain that cash engine in the Gulf of Mexico at a minimum, hold production broadly flat, and potentially grow that production with a hub-class success. And those seismic improvements that I talked about are leading that charge with our great portfolio,” he said.

The discovery of oil at the Hess-operated Pickerel-1 well highlights the company's commitment to efficient exploration and development activities in the US deepwater region. With their infrastructure-led exploration method, Hess drives down find and development costs while uncovering new, high-quality reserves.