A new depositional model for the deepwater Wilcox-equivalent Whopper Sand—Changing the paradigm

The Lower Tertiary (Paleogene) of the offshore Gulf of Mexico has emerged as an important frontier oil and gas play with a series of major discoveries in the deepest parts of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Alaminos Canyon, Keathley Canyon and Walker Ridge OCS protraction areas. Reservoirs comprise thin Eocene-to-Oligocene distal turbidite sands and a thick, sandy Paleocene-Eocene package called the “Whopper Sand.” The pre-Oligocene portion of this sequence correlates with the onshore Wilcox Group. The unique character of the Whopper is its generally high sand content (~70%) and great thickness (>1,000 ft), even though it was deposited hundreds of miles seaward of the Wilcox shelf margin and slope. The presence of such a reservoir so far from the shallow marine depositional centers of its contemporaneous basin challenges explorers to modify models derived from the onshore Wilcox as they seek to understand and delineate the new play fairway.

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