Global E&P Briefs

Ramco Energy began drilling its first well in the Seven Heads Field, 200 miles southwest of Kinsale, Ireland, in August.


Ramco Energy began drilling its first well in the Seven Heads Field, 200 miles southwest of Kinsale, Ireland, in August. Initial test results from the field indicate the area could hold significant oil and gas reserves. Positive preliminary testing could result in operations at the field being extended by 20 years.

Statoil recently awarded contracts for well services in connection with developing its Kvitebj rn gas and condensate field in the North Sea. Prosafe secured the contract for production drilling and maintenance of the drilling package. Baker Oil Tools will provide downhole completion services and installation of tools in the wells. Halliburton will supply drilling fluids and cementing services. Schlumberger Oil Field Services will provide directional drilling, logging while drilling, mud logging, and electrical logging services.

Drilling is planned to begin in August 2003. Four of the 11 wells are to be operative when the field comes on stream in the fall of 2004. Statoil has a 50% stake in Kvitebjørn. The state has a direct financial interest of 30%. Norsk Hydro holds 15%, and TotalFinaElf holds 5%.

Statoil's Sigyn gas and condensate field in the North Sea will soon see development. Although ExxonMobil is operator, Statoil will execute drilling and subsea work at Sigyn, in addition to the topside modifications on Sleipner. ABB will be responsible for alterations and modification of the Sleipner A platform, which will be hooked up to the wellstream from Sigyn. Coflexip Stena Offshore will install a seabed template, flowlines, and control cable and will connect the flowlines and control cable to the platform. Plans are in place for the template to be installed in November so that drilling operations can begin. Plans call for the wells to come on stream in 1Q 2003. ExxonMobil holds 40% of Sigyn with partners Norsk Hydro (10%) and Statoil (50%).


Shell Canada Ltd. will spend $60-65 million to begin drilling an exploration well for natural gas off Nova Scotia's Sable Island this month. Santa Fe International's jackup Galaxy II will drill Shell's 100%-owned Onondaga prospect in 200 ft water depth over the next three months.

Petrobras recently awarded FMC Energy Systems, a subsidiary of FMC Technologies, Inc. an $18 million contract to supply a subsea solution for its Albacora Leste Field offshore Brazil. FMC Energy Systems will supply three subsea water injection manifolds, two subsea trees, and associated control systems. Delivery is scheduled for early 2003. FMC Energy Systems announced that it would expand major manufacturing facilities in Rio de Janeiro and Macae, Brazil, to accommodate the contracts and to meet future demand.

Central Asia

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (Socar) has formed a consortium with some Japanese oil companies to conduct exploration drilling in the Yanan Tava fields in the Caspian Sea. The Japan Azerbaijan Oil Co. will drill two exploration wells about 120 km southeast of Baku in an area of the Ateshgyakh Block, where reserves are estimated at 75-80 million tons of oil. Drilling is to be complete in January 2002. Primary partners in the consortium include Socar (50%), Japan Petroleum Exploration (22.5%), and Itochu Corp. (7.5%).

A representative of Socar announced that the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project that was to link Turkmenistan with eastern Turkey would most likely not be built. The US consortium that originally planned the pipeline closed its offices last year, and no other company has taken its place. The proposed pipeline was to act as an outlet for Azerbaijan's gas from the BP-operated Shakh Deniz field. A prerequisite for the pipeline was agreement between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Earlier this year, Azerbaijan signed an agreement to supply Turkey with 2 bcm of gas from 2004 to 2005 and elected to participate in the South Caucasus gas pipeline, which will link it with Turkey through Georgia.


Clough Ltd. of Australia announced in late September that it was awarded an $80 million contract to help build Indonesia's first deepwater oil field. Work was to begin immediately on the West Seno field in the Makassar Strait between Kalimantan and Sulawesi. Clough is responsible for engineering, procurement, and installation of two 62-km submarine pipelines that will bring oil and gas onshore to facilities on Kalimantan. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. was awarded work on the project that includes a floating production unit of 12,000 tons and a tension leg platform of 6,000 tons. The new field will have two platforms and 48-52 wells in a water depth of 1,050 meters. Planned oil production is 60,000 b/d. The field is scheduled to begin production in 2003.


Kerr-McGee recently added to its offshore acreage by acquiring 100% interest in an exclusive reconnaissance permit covering the Boujdour Block offshore Morocco. The block extends 350 miles along the Atlantic coast and covers more than 27 million acres. Water depth ranges from nearshore to 10,000 ft. The block is comparable in size to 4,750 Gulf of Mexico blocks and covers three known geologic basins. Existing geological and geophysical data are being reprocessed, and a new seismic survey will be undertaken soon. When the Reconnaissance Permit period expires, Kerr-McGee has the option of converting the area to a petroleum agreement, which gives the company authority to conduct exploration and production activities in partnership with Morocco's state oil company, Office National de Recherches et D'Expoitations Petrolieres.

The government of Ghana plans to offer 36,000 sq km of deepwater acreage for bid early in 2002. The government is restructuring the state oil company, the Ghana National Petroleum Corp. (GNPC), and is planning to entice investors through regulatory incentives, including scaled back royalties, and legislative reforms. At present, Ghana produces about 3,000 b/d of crude. If incentives bring investors to the region, there is hope of a sizable deepwater discovery. The country would like to raise production to more than 100,000 b/d in the next five years.

Elf-Congo, TotalFinaElf's Congo subsidiary, plans to increase offshore oil exploration in search of new discoveries that will replace older fields that in the near future will no longer be productive. The country currently produces 271,000 b/d of crude, with the majority of the national budget met through fuel exports.

Canada's Atrim will soon begin deepwater drilling offshore Tanzania. The company has already secured a license and is authorized to begin work immediately.

Middle East

Ocean Energy announced a successful exploratory well on its East Zeit concession in the Gulf of Suez offshore Egypt. The East Zeit A-21 wildcat well was drilled to a total depth of 16,300 ft and encountered approximately 745 ft of oil pay. Initial production was scheduled to begin by the end of last month. The field will undergo delineation and further development next year. Ocean Energy holds 100% working interest in the field.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd. (Petronas) of Malaysia was awarded two oil and gas exploration blocks in Bahrain under a production sharing deal, for which the company submitted a bid in June of this year. The blocks are in the eastern offshore area between Qatar and the island of Bahrain. This area has seen limited exploration despite productive neighboring fields. Petronas will be operator for the two blocks.

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