The study area, block SL-2007-01-001, operated by Cairn India Ltd., is located in the Mannar basin of NW offshore Sri Lankan (blue polygone in Figure-1) and contains a sedimentary section exceeding 7km, the age of which ranges from Jurassic to Recent. The large number of oil and gas discoveries in the contiguous Cauvery Basin, both in Cretaceous and Tertiary sections, makes this frontier basin an attractive candidate for exploration. In 2010 Cairn Lanka acquired 1753 sq km of 3D seismic data in order to assess the exploration potential of this deep water block. This paper focuses on the role that rock physics analysis played in the assessment, risking, and ranking of the key leads identified in the basin. Of the numerous leads identified, three were high-graded in large part due to their DHI characteristics, resulting in the Dorado and Barracuda gas discoveries (Well-A & Well-C in Figure-1, respectively), the first hydrocarbons to be discovered in the Mannar Basin. The third well, Well-B, was a dry hole.

De-risking of exploration prospects was based on quantitative seismic interpretation supported by rock physics analysis. This paper emphasizes how rock physics can add value in an exploration project to influence business decisions by reducing subsurface uncertainties. The nearest well, CY-DWN-2, that provided data for depth trends and rock physics analysis is located approximately fifty kilometers south west of the study area. Although this was a dry hole, it provided significant information on the sedimentary sequence, rock properties, and their associated seismic responses. Various "what if" scenarios were created to understand associated seismic responses. The analsyis explained the dry hole at CY-DWN-2 and highgraded the prospectivity of the Dorado lead. The latter was subsequently drilled, leading to the Dorado discovery.

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