Global E&P Briefs

In mid-November, Amerada Hess made the first significant hydrocarbon discovery off of the Faeroes in License 0, which covers an area south of the Faeroes on the boundary with UK waters. Well 6004/16-1 showed both oil and gas over a gross interval of 170 meters.

Judy Maksoud, Houston


In mid-November, Amerada Hess made the first significant hydrocarbon discovery off of the Faeroes in License 0, which covers an area south of the Faeroes on the boundary with UK waters. Well 6004/16-1 showed both oil and gas over a gross interval of 170 meters. This well marks Amerada's first attempt to find oil in this area, following unsuccessful wells drilled by Statoil and a consortium of BP Royal Dutch/ Shell in September. The discovery offers encouragement for the future of the oil and gas industry in the area. In February 2000, the Faeroese Ministry of Petroleum received 22 license applications from 17 oil companies in the first licensing round on the Faeroe Shelf. The ministry awarded seven offshore exploration licenses to 12 oil companies in August 2000.

Norsk Hydro's two promising oil and gas finds in the Oseberg area of the North Sea last year will likely form the foundation for a new subsea production development tied into the Oseberg field center. Hydro estimates new recoverable reserves at about 120 million bbl of oil and 3.4 bcm of gas. This field began prod-uction in 1988. There are still more than 1 billion bbl of recoverable oil to produce. Norsk Hydro is operator (22.23 %) of the Oseberg Unit, with TotalFinaElf (8.66 %), ExxonMobil (4.33 %), Statoil (14.00 %), and Petoro (50.78 %).


Last month, BHP Billiton announced the success of its fourth exploration well in the Block 2(c) production sharing contract off Trinidad. The jackup Glomar Labrador 1 began drilling the Canteen-1 exploration well at the end of October. The well is in 164 ft water depth about a mile north of the previously announced oil and gas discovery at Kairi-1. Drilled to a total depth of 7,070 ft, Canteen-1 encountered a gross hydrocarbon column of approximately 700 ft, with 437 ft (200 net) of gross oil pay and 270 ft of gross gas pay (179 net). BHP is operator of Block 2(c) with 45% interest. Talisman Ltd. (25%) and Elf Petroleum Trinidad B.V. (30%) are partners.

J. Ray McDermott, S.A, announced the award of a $160 million EPCI contract to certain of its subsidiaries for two natural gas production platforms and related submarine pipelines offshore Argentina. The work was awarded by Total Austral S.A., a subsidiary of TotalFinaElf S.A. The first phase of Total Austral's Carina and Aries field development project includes design, procurement, fabrication, and installation of two wellhead platforms, one in 260 ft water depth and the other in 195 ft water depth, 50 miles east of Tierra del Fuego in the South Atlantic Ocean. The company will also install 62 miles of offshore flowlines and related chemical injection pipelines to transport natural gas production to shore. Structural and pipeline engineering is underway, with fabrication scheduled to begin in March 2002, followed by installation in November. Production is expected in the summer of 2003.


In mid-December, ExxonMobil Corp. announced that oil and gas production began from the first of five new satellite platforms recently installed under the Satellite Fields Development Project, offshore Malaysia. This field development project is the first of its kind in Malaysia and enables the profitable production of smaller reserves. The five platforms will produce about 90 million bbl of oil from six fields. Peak production is expected to total 40,000 b/d of oil and 50 MMcf/d of gas. Field operation is in the hands of ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Malaysia Inc. The fields are being developed on behalf of Petronas Carigali Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of Malaysian national oil company, Petronas.

Central Asia

McDermott International, Inc. subsidiary McDermott Caspian Contractors Inc. has signed contracts with AIOC for fabricating platform topsides and installing offshore pipelines in Phase 1 of the development of the Azeri, Chirag, and deepwater portion of the Gunashli fields in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. The topsides fabrication work will be done primarily in Azerbaijan using the infrastructure, equipment and labor of Socar's Shelprojectstroi fabrication facility, which is undergoing an upgrade in order to handle the work. Socar's marine operations group, Kaspmornefteflot, will provide the laybarge Israfil Huseynov, which will be upgraded for the project, as well as key marine support vessels for pipeline installation. BP is operator (34.1%), with Socar (10%), Unocal (10.3%), Lukoil (10.0%), Statoil (8.6%), ExxonMobil (8%), TPAO (6.8%), Devon (5.6%), Itochu (3.9%), and Delta Hess (2.7%) as partners.

David Woodward, BP President in Azerbaijan, recently announced that the company would resume operations in the southern Azeri sector of the Caspian Sea. Operations were suspended in July when an Iranian military vessel claimed the BP ship was trespassing in Iranian waters. Threatened with force, the BP vessel retreated. The Iranian government disputes Azerbaijan's right to exploit the Araz-Alov-Sarq Field and contends that oil exploration should not be allowed to continue in the area until the five Caspian littoral states reach an agreement on how to share the profits from the region. BP will recommence work in the Araz-Alov-Sarq Field without waiting for a political decision.


In early December, Sonangol and TotalFinaElf announced first production from Angola's deepwater Girassol Field in Block 17, the largest deepwater development in the world to be brought onstream. Eleven wells, eight of which are producers, were connected at production startup. When field development is complete, there will be 39 subsea wells: 23 producers, 14 water injectors, and 2 gas injectors. Beginning production totaled about 40,000 bbl, with daily production set to rise to 120,000 b/d earlier this month. The field is being produced with the Girassol FPSO, the largest of its type ever built. Girassol Field is located in 1,350 meters water depth, 150 km off Angola. Coventurers in Block 17 are operator TotalFinaElf (40%) ExxonMobil (20%), BP (16.67%), Statoil (13.33%), and Norsk Hydro (10%).

ENI drilled the Awa Marine-1 well offshore Congo at a water depth of more than 2,730 meters in November using Saipem's semisubmersible Scarabeo 3. A second well is being planned to provide data for a more extensive evaluation of the discovery, which is in an area that is considered mature for exploration activities. ENI is operator of the block through subsidiary Agip Congo S. A. with 72% interest. Partners are South African Oil Company Sasol and Societé Nationale des Pétroles du Congo.

Middle East

BG Egypt and Edison announced the successful drilling of the Saurus-1 well in the West Delta Deep Marine (WDDM) Concession off the Nile Delta, Egypt in November. This well is the 13th consecutive successful exploration and appraisal well on the WDDM concession. Saurus-1 is located 120 km north of Alexandria and is the first discovery in the Saurus area. Drilling and field development of the WDDM concession are being carried out by Burullus Gas Company, a joint venture BG Egypt, Edison International S.p.A., and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation.

In mid-November, Hunt Oil Oman signed an oil and gas E&P agreement with the government of Oman to search for oil in the offshore area number 50 in the Gulf of Masirah. The company will carry out exploration activities and seismic surveys over the course of the four-year contract.

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