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    Development Strategies and Profitability Assessment of Semisubmersible Production Units in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico

    Published: Sep 2016

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    The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is one of three major deepwater-producing regions in the world, but surprisingly little information exists that methodically examines project profitability. Reliable economic assessments in the deepwater space generally is lacking, and even basic performance measures and comparative issues have not been addressed. Deepwater developments are expensive, complex, and risky endeavors, and significant delineation work is required before a reservoir produces. The major challenge in development is achieving an acceptable financial return in an uncertain environment. The purpose of this chapter is to review semisubmersible developments in the Gulf of Mexico and to estimate their profitability. Through 2013, 11 semisubmersibles produced 777 MMbbl oil and 2,350 Bcf natural gas and generated about 8 billion in gross revenue. Development cost for the projects totaled approximately 8 billion, and if operating cost average 0/boe, total cost circa 2013 is estimated at 0 billion, yielding a benefit-cost ratio of 1.6. In 2013, 8 semisubmersibles produced 80 MMbbl oil and 178 Bcf natural gas worth approximately .3 billion. Na Kika is the most successful development with a net present value greater than billion and an estimated 34 % return on investment. Atlantis and Thunder Horse are valued in excess of billion each with expected returns in the 15 to 20 % range. Three semis have been decommissioned, none of which were profitable, and Telemark and Independence are not expected to generate positive returns. Operators spent 3/boe to develop fields with more than 300 MMboe reserves, and 0/boe for fields with less than 100 MMboe reserves. Remaining reserves circa 2013 for the semisubmersible inventory are estimated at 364 MMbbl oil and 740 Bcf natural gas, and 3 to 0 billion in future revenues are expected for oil prices between 0 to 20/bbl. Telemark and Thunder Hawk appear near the end of their life cycle.


    deepwater economics, development strategy, profitability, semisubmersible development

    Author Information:

    Kaiser, Mark J.
    Louisiana State University, Center for Energy Studies, Baton Rouge, LA

    Committee/Subcommittee: D18.26

    DOI: 10.1520/MNL7320140022