Mississippi Canyon

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Mississippi Canyon is located in the US
Mississippi Canyon
Mississippi Canyon (the US)
Off shore oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi Canyon leasing area is delineated in the upper right, south of the Mississippi River outlet.

The Mississippi Canyon is an undersea canyon, part of the Mississippi Submarine Valley in the North-central Gulf of Mexico, south of Louisiana.[1] According to the U.S. Geological Survey GLORIA Mapping Program, it is the dominant feature of the north-central Gulf of Mexico. According to GCAGS Transactions, it has an average width of 8 kilometres (5.0 mi), and a length of 120 kilometres (75 mi). The US Minerals Management Service (MMS) applies the name Mississippi Canyon to numbered federal oil and gas lease blocks over a large offshore area centered on, but mostly outside, the submarine canyon.

Oil and gas exploration and production[edit]

According to "Deepwater Gulf of Mexico 2004: America's Expanding Frontier", a report issued by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, of the ten deepwater discoveries in water depths greater than 7,000 ft (2,134 m), three were in the Mississippi Canyon area: Aconcagua project, area/block MC305, 7,379 ft (2,249 m) deep; and Camden Hills project, MC348, 7,530 ft (2,300 m) deep, both discovered in 1999; and Blind Faith project, MC696, 7,116 ft (2,169 m) deep, discovered in 2001.[2] In a separate section of the same report, note is made of acreage in the Thunder Horse project, MC778, acquired in 1988. Other projects noted for Mississippi Canyon include Thunder Horse areas/blocks MC775-778 and MC819-822, listed as completed grid PEA (programmatic environmental assessment) by BP.[3]

An MMS list of 80 development systems of productive deepwater Gulf of Mexico projects from 1979 to 2003 includes 29 projects in the Mississippi Canyon area:[4]

Year of 1st
Project Name Operator Block Water
Depth ft.
System Type
1979 Cognac Shell MC194 1,023 Fixed Platform
1984 Lena ExxonMobil MC280 1,000 Compliant Tower
1991 Amberjack BP MC109 1,100 Fixed Platform
1992 Alabaster ExxonMobil MC485 1,438 Subsea
1993 Diamond Kerr McGee MC445 2,095 Subsea
1993 Zink ExxonMobil MC354 1,478 Subsea
1996 Mars Shell MC807 2,933 TLP/Subsea
1997 Mensa Shell MC731 5,318 Subsea
1999 Gemini ChevronTexaco MC292 3,393 Subsea
1999 Pluto Mariner MC674 2,828 Subsea
1999 Ursa Shell MC809 1,478 TLP
2000 Europa Shell MC935 3,870 Subsea
2000 King Shell MC764 3,250 Subsea
2001 Crosby Shell MC899 4,440 Subsea
2001 MC68 Walter MC68 1,360 Subsea
2001 Mica ExxonMobil MC211 4,580 Subsea
2002 Aconcagua TotalFinaElf MC305 7,100 Subsea
2002 Camden Hills Marathon MC348 7,216 Subsea
2002 Horn Mountain BP MC127 5,400 Spar
2002 King BP MC84 5,000 Subsea
2002 Princess Shell MC765 3,600 Subsea
2003 East Anstey/Na Kika Shell MC607 6,590 FPS/Subsea
2003 Fourier/Na Kika Shell MC522 6,950 FPS/Subsea
2003 Goose Statoil MC751 1,624 Subsea
2003 Herschel/Na Kika Shell MC520 6,739 FPS/Subsea
2003 Matterhorn TotalFinaElf MC243 2,850 TLP
2003 Medusa Murphy MC582 2,223 Spar
2003 Pardner Anadarko MC401 1,139 Subsea
2003 Zia Devon MC496 1,804 Subsea

Five of the top 20 deepwater Gulf of Mexico production blocks for 2000-01 were in the Mississippi Canyon, including the top 2: Project Mars, 2,933 feet (894 m) deep, 137 million barrels (21.8×10^6 m3) of oil equivalent (BOE); project Ursa, 3,800 feet (1,200 m) deep, 93 million barrels (14.8×10^6 m3) of BOE; project Mensa, 5,280 feet (1,610 m), 27 million barrels (4.3×10^6 m3) of BOE; Cognac, 1,023 feet (312 m), 23 million barrels (3.7×10^6 m3) of BOE; Crosby, 4,259 feet (1,298 m), 18 million barrels (2.9×10^6 m3) of BOE, all managed by Shell.[5]

Deepwater Horizon explosion[edit]

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, located in the MMS Mississippi Canyon block 252, which is about 40 miles (64 km) off the Louisiana coast, suffered a catastrophic explosion; it sank a day-and-a-half later.[6] Although initial reports indicated that relatively little oil had leaked, by April 27 it was stated by BP that approximately 5,000 barrels (790 m3) of oil per day were issuing from the wellhead, 1-mile (1.6 km) below the surface on the ocean floor.[7] The resulting oil slick quickly expanded to cover hundreds of square miles of ocean surface, posing a threat to marine life and adjacent coastal wetlands.[8] On June 10, the Flow Rate Group from the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center reported that they have determined that the estimated flow rate from the out of control well head has been 20,000 barrels (3,200 m3) to 40,000 barrels (6,400 m3) per day.[9]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 28°30′N 89°45′W / 28.500°N 89.750°W / 28.500; -89.750 (Mississippi Canyon)