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The discovery of thick, sandy Wilcox-age strata in the most distal portions of the Gulf of Mexico Basin will produce a paradigm change. The deep Gulf of Mexico Wilcox play was the focus of the GCSSEPM Bob F. Perkins Research Conference. Excellent technical papers were presented describing the deepwater fan systems, petroleum resources, structural and tectonic style, trap types, chronostratigraphy and paleontology of the most exciting new play in North America, where recoverable reserves could be 3 to 15 Bbbl. From almost a full day of talks, however, I got the impression that it was always known that there were thick, sand-rich reservoirs in the deepest portions of the Gulf of Mexico Basin, but for some reason industry waited until 2000 to drill them. This is, of course, not the case. Those reservoirs were discovered accidentally while drilling large structures for Cretaceous objectives.

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