Global E&P Briefs

Elf has reported a seventh discovery in the deepwater Angola Block 17.


Elf has reported a seventh discovery in the deepwater Angola Block 17. The Cravo-1 well tested in excess of 5,000 b/d of oil and is located in 800 meters of water. Full details have yet to be released on the pay zones, but it is speculated that the reservoirs are shallower than 8,000 ft in Miocene sands. Preliminary economic evaluation has indicated the block could hold around two billion boe.

Production has begun on Marathon's Tchatamba South Field offshore Gabon. The field has begun production at 22,000 b/d of oil from two wells in 150 ft of water. The field is producing from an unmanned platform through a 12-in. pipeline to a MOPU in the Tchatamba Marin Field. Combined production from the two fields is being processed on the MOPU at near capacity of 40,000 b/d. Tchatamba South is estimated to hold over 27 million gross bbl of oil.


CGX Energy has announced that it plans to begin drilling on its Horseshoe West target offshore Guyana between November 15 and the end of the year. The company has contracted for R&B Falcon's #202 for the drilling. Drilling follows seabottom and shallow hazard surveys performed by CGX in August. The company also plans to begin drilling another target in the area, Eagle, early next year.

BHP has successful completed the B5 well on West Cameron 76 in the Gulf of Mexico. The well encountered 217 net ft of pay in three sands and has an initial flow rate of 20 MMcf/d of gas. The well will produce to a platform on the block, which is already at capacity at 90 MMcf/d, but is expected to be increased later this year. BHP holds a 33.76% interest in the field with partners CNG (40%), Houston Exploration (12.375%), Ridgewood Energy (11.24%), and Cairn Energy (2.625%).

Operator Conoco and joint partner Spirit Energy have another deepwater discoverywith the K2 prospect on Green Canyon 562 in the Gulf of Mexico. The well was drilled in 3,900 ft of water and discovered oil in a high quality reservoir. The companies have suspended the well to develop plans for appraisal and exploration of the deeper objectives. Drilling is expected to resume in the spring of next year.

Spirit Energy's deepwater subsalt well on the Sumatra prospect on Garden Banks 941 in the Gulf of Mexico has been temporarily abandoned due to mechanical difficulties. The well was drilled to a depth of 21,107 ft in 3,700 ft water depth when it was halted. The company said there were oil shows above and below the salt and it plans to resume drilling when the Discoverer Spirit drillship arrives next year.

Kerr-McGee has announced two new deepwater discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico:

  1. The company made a deepwater discovery on the North Boomvang prospect on East Breaks Block 643 in the Gulf of Mexico. The well was drilled to 9,478 ft in 3,450 ft water depth and offsets a prior discovery drilled in 1997. The rig which drilled the discovery, R&B Falcons' C. Kirk Rhein Jr., is now drilling on the West Boomvang prospect in adjacent Block 642. Following this well, the company plans to drill the East Boomvang in East Breaks 688. Kerr-McGee believes the area could have a reserve in the range of 70-100 million boe.
  2. The company also drilled the Nansen discovery in East Breaks 602. Kerr McGee holds a 50% interest with partner Ocean Energy in the tract. The discovery was drilled to 11,900 ft and encountered 140 ft of gas condensate pay in 3,680 ft water depth. An appraisal well on the prospect is already underway and a third well on the prospect is planned before year-end.


Phillips has recorded its third successful well on a 6-mile anticline in Block 11/05 in China's Bohai Bay. The PL 19-3-4 appraisal well encountered a gross pay interval of more than 886 ft with 290 ft of net gas pay in Minghuazhen and Guantao formations. The well confirmed the same pay interval as the discovery well 1.5 miles north. The company conducted two tests on the well, the first of which tested 850 b/d of oil with a gas-oil-ratio of 120 cf/bbl, and the second concluded a rate of 190 b/d of oil with gas-to-oil ratio of 190 cf/bbl. Four more appraisal wells are planned before year-end.

Apache and partners Woodside and Santos have approved the development of the Legendre oil fields on the Northwest Shelf in Western Australia. The fields will be developed using a MOPU converted from a jackup by Oceaneering. The project is estimated to cost about $70 million and will be located in the Legendre North and Legendre South fields in permit area WA-1-P. Legendre North will produce through three horizontal wells and Legendre South will be developed with one horizontal well. First oil is anticipated for mid-2001.

With its first two exploration wells on Block 10A and 11A in the Gulf of Thailand, Unocal has made two discoveries. The 10A-1 well was drilled to a TD of 12,280 ft and encountered 134 net ft of gas and condensate pay. The well tested 14.8 MMcf/d of gas and 485 b/d of condensate. A follow-up well, Yala-3, was drilled on adjacent block 10 and encountered 487 net ft of oil and gas pay. Two tests were run on the well: the first yielded 3,152 b/d of oil and the second flowed at 485 b/d of condensate and over 18 MMcf/d of gas. On block 11A, the company drilled the 11A-1 well to 10,960 ft and encountered 180 net ft of gas pay from two zones. The well flowed 18 MMcf/d of gas and 675 b/d of condensate.

Apex has signed a production sharing contract with Pertamina for exclusive exploration and production rights to the 2.5-million-acre Yapen Block off the island of New Guinea in Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Under the terms of the agreement, Apex will pay Pertamina $200,000 for data bonus and must spend $5 million in exploration work within the block during the first three years. The contract for the block is under the special "frontier terms" production sharing contract that offers a more favorable production sharing split between the two companies.

Central Asia

Arco has quit an exploration project off Azerbaijan. Following the seismic evaluation of the D-222 Field in the Caspian Sea, the company has decided to pull out. With the withdrawal, partner in the project OAO Lukoil Holding, Russia's largest oil producer, took over the company's interest.

The international consortium drilling Shakh Deniz in the Azeri sector of the Caspian is hoping that a second well will boost the field's reserves. The well is target to intersect an additional five hydrocarbon seams, which are estimated to boost reserves from 700 bcm of gas to about 1 tcm. Results from the well are expected by year-end. Members of the consortium are BP Amoco (25.5%), Statoil (25.5%), LUKAgip, Elf, SOCAR, and OIEC (each with 10%), and Turkish Petroleum (9%).


After eight months of production, Conoco's Banff Field in the North Sea has produced 5 million bbl of oil. The field is producing over 50,000 b/d of oil and 30 MMcf/d of gas from two wells to PGS' Ramform Banff FPSO as part of Phase II of the project. The field is expected to peak at 60,000 b/d of oil and 40 MMcf/d of gas.

Statoil has discovered oil in the southern structure of the Beta West satellite of the Yme Field in the North Sea. The discovery is estimated at 12 million bbl, raising the total reserves of the satellite to about 75 million bbl. Yme produces 25,000 b/d and is expected to double with the addition of production from Beta West.

Middle East

Elf has placed a bid on tenders to develop phases six, seven, and eight of the South Pars gas field offshore Iran. Earlier this year, Iran issued a tender to foreign firms to develop the field under the buy-back program and has already signed a $2 billion deal with a consortium of Total, Gazprom, and Petronas for the second and third phases of the field. This new contract will be Elf's third with the National Iranian Oil Company. The company signed on to develop the Doroud oilfield earlier this year for $1 billion, and signed a contract for the Balal oilfield for $300 million one month later.

Shell is about to conclude its second agreements with Iran. This agreement will cover exploration and exploitation studies on the Nowrouz and Soroush fields in the Persian Gulf. The company is already working with the National Iranian Oil Company on a $20 million project for exploiting reserves in the Caspian Sea and is working on a third $800 million contract for the export of Iranian gas to Pakistan and India.

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