Sunday, July 17, 2005

"Billions Of Barrels" Possibly Located In New Deepwater GOM

Underwater sand avalanches cover terrain that could contain enormous quantities of oil and natural gas in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, according to Carlos Pirmez, a Shell geologist.
During the last glacial period when more of Earth's water was locked up in glaciers and sea level was lower, sediments discharged by rivers such as the Brazos and Trinity formed beaches and deltas near the continental shelf's edge. Catastrophic underwater sand avalanches, called turbidity currents, carried the sediments into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where they accumulated in bowl-shaped basins.

Carlos Pirmez, an expedition geologist affiliated with Shell International in Houston, said, "basins are now buried thousands of meters beneath the Gulf of Mexico sea floor, and likely host billions of barrels of oil and gas. Sediment records we acquire from the basin off Texas shores will boost our understanding of how these deeply buried reservoirs are formed."


Jan Behrmann, a scientist at Germany's University of Freiburg, emphasizes that, "The goal of this expedition was not to explore or drill for oil, which lies much deeper than the sediments we recovered. In the next several months, we will analyze sediment samples and gain an understanding of when and how turbidites form. We will then have a better picture of why and where these important [petroleum] deposits are formed."