Definition of a Deepwater Field Development
With the recent
advances in exploration and production technology, the minimum water
depth at which a deepwater field starts, has had to be redefined.
Until 10 years ago, from a European perspective
the answer was simple, 200 metres and deeper, essentially the edge
of the continental shelf.
When viewed globally the answer is not so simple.
The Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West Africa have seen deepwater records
tumble as discoveries and production has come from depths greater
than 1,000 metres. In April 1998 the record was pushed to 1,709
metres, the current deepest producing field is Marathon Oil's Camden
Hills (Oct 2002) at a water depth of 2,198 metres and within the
next five years the record is expected to exceed 2,500 metres. Unocal's
Trident field could quickly increase the record to 2,953 metres
should it come onstream in 2006.. Therefore, 200 metres is simply not considered to be deepwater anymore especially as various organisations have their own definitions ranging beyond 500 metres. To take this into account we have drawn the limit for the definition of "deepwater" in the Deepwater online database at 300 metres.