Dev George Houston There is a revolution underway that is barely detectable to the uninitiated, yet sweeping the world faster than any event in history. It is the spread of the information superhighway into every corner of the earth, making worldwide communications not only a realtime reality, but a necessity for companies that want to compete in the world marketplace of the next century.


For the first time in many years, all OPEC members are presently holding to their production quotas and, according to Abdallah Hamad al-Attiya, Qatar's oil minister, the usual cheaters aren't expected to increase their output for the near future due to soft oil prices.


Seychelles drilling is renewed after a 15-year absence, with the spudding on 26 August of Enterprise's Constant Bank 1 wildcat well. The well, being drilled by the Canmar Explorer III drillship in 51 meters water depth, is 200 km south-southeast of Mahe. Enterprise holds 100% interest in the well.

Sudan's Delta Tokar Block [36628 bytes] in its Red Sea aquatory, is about to see the drilling of a second wildcat, the Suakin 2, to be spudded by 100% block holder International Petroleum Corp. The Suakin structure, containing 325 million bbl condensate and 2.7 tcf natural gas, was last drilled four km away by Chevron in 1976. If successful, IPC plans a fasttrack subsea development.

Eritrea's frontier province is being explored. IPC has acquired a 15% interest in the huge, 34,478 sq km Danakil Block with its Jurassic prospect, Big Edd, believed to be holding between 1.7 and 6.8 billion bbl recoverable reserves. Hunt Oil holds an 80% stake. A well is planned before yearend.

Nigeria's NNPC, fearing US sanctions against Nigerian crude due to political repression by the government, has decided to diversify its concession holders. New exploration and production awards are set to go to several Asian and perhaps a South African company.


Russia's first private oil company, Lukoil, is about to become a Russo-American company, if plans for Atlantic Richfield's purchase of a $250 million minority interest in the company goes through. Lukoil is offering $350 million in convertible international bonds. The buy will make Arco Lukoil's strategic partner.

Norway's Barents Sea will see new acreage announced for bid before yearend. Consequent blocks will be awarded by summer 1996. Statoil, Saga, Norsk Hydro, Elf, and Mobil may take the lion's share of the acreage, which is expected to be larger with more flexible terms.


Union Oil of California is set to relinquish the last of its California upstream holdings via a $500 million sale to Torch Energy Advisors, who is buying 69 oil and gas fields, including the company's ten producing fields and platforms offshore in state and US waters.

Mexico's Pemex is granting seismic acquisition contracts on its newly discovered Tabasco Littoral. 3D and 2D subsalt and regular 2D, just off the mouth of the Coatzacalcos River. PGS is to do this shoot. Geco-Prakla has gotten another contract in Campeche.

Falkland/Malvinas bids begin, despite Argentine protests. The British government's lieutenants have taken the Falkland show on the road, promoting bids for acreage in two sectors of the island's aquatory. Argentina maintains the process is totally illegal and plans to sue any company that enters the area.

Venezuela's Sucre Gas (ex. Cristobal Colon Project) has confirmed recoverable reserves of 11 tcf gas in the Venezuelan Gulf of Paria aquatory. Company president Alfredo Essis Bracho says new technology will lessen the cost of bringing the fields onstream.


China's CNOOC is joining the ACT. A new joint operating contract has been signed between the ACT consortium - Agip, Chevron, and Texaco - and China National Offshore Oil Corp. to operate the 16/08 concession area in the South China Sea's Pearl River Delta Basin.

Australian Bass Straits strikers have again rejected a settlement offer, this by Esso Australia. The strike began July 31. Some 500 operating and maintenance workers are striking over a productivity and pay raise dispute with Esso.

The Thai-Malaysia Joint Development Area's first exploration well was spudded last month by the newly formed joint Malay-Thai operating company Carigali-PTTEPI Operating Co (CPOC) 290 km northeast of Songkhla. A second well is planned. The Actinia rig is drilling both wells.

Vietnam's Blue Dragon Field (Thanh Long) is under the bit. The Mobil-Japanese consortium has spudded its second well on Block 05-1B, after abandoning the first well due to technical problems. This second well, to TD 5000 meters, is expected to be completed by December.

Vietnam has totally rejected Crestone Energy's proposed joint China-Vietnamese development of the Con Son area of the South China Sea, where Crestone was awarded an exploration area called Wan 'An Bei (WAB 21). The offer was made by Crestone's president in an open letter. China has given go ahead for development, but Crestone is seeking partners, unlikely under the circumstances.


Qatar's Al-Khaleej Field has been turned over, in a shift of concession holdings aimed at boosting oil production, to Elf and Agip for development by the Qatar General Petroleum Corp. The field is expected to produce some 30,000 b/d by 1997.

Iran's Sirri A and E Fields in the Persian Gulf, taken over by Total after the grant to Conoco was nixed by the US trade ban on Iran, will most likely have their gas production piped to nearby Dubai, if current talks prove successful.

Turkmenistan's Block II [30438 bytes] has been acquired by IPC from Larmag Energy. In a 60% purchase, IPC becomes operator of the block, which contains the Zhadanov and Lam Fields, with some 63 platforms and 38 producing wells. Production, now at 10,000 b/d oil, is expected to go up to 23,000 b/d by yearend, and 86,000 b/d by 1999. Proven reserves are 384 million bbl oil and 2.7 tcf gas, but oil reserves are expected to rise to 900 million bbl with minimum development.

The Oman-to-India pipeline project appears to be on track, despite rumors to the contrary. The $5 billion, 1,135 km double gas pipelines across the Arabian Sea are to carry 1 bcf/d gas from Oman to western India by mid-1999 and be complete by 2001. Numerous problems remain to be resolved, the most difficult being the pipe itself, since it will be laid at 3,500 meters depth.

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