China activity on the increase
The Bohai Gulf has witnessed a flurry of contract activity in recent months. This began on 10 July when Amoco was awarded the 149 sq km on/offshore Chengdaoxi PSCA in the south of the area. The contract, which received MOFTEC approval on 1 October, has undisclosed work commitments.
On 30 July, Esso was awarded PSCA 02/16 in Liaodong Bay and this was followed on 31 August by the signing of PSCA 02/31 by Chevron. These blocks were promoted by CNPPC as the North and South Blocks, respectively in 1994-95. Also of note is that on 12 August, Chevron farmed-in for 35% and the operatorship of PSCA 06/17 from Texaco. Under the terms of the agreement Chevron will fund a single commitment well.
In PSCA 16/08, in the Pearl River Mouth Basin, the CACT Operators Group has had success with its Huizhou (HZ) 26-1SE-1 exploration well. This was spudded on 29 July using the Nanhai-5 semisubmersible and was drilled to a TD of 2,700 meters before commencing testing. Three DSTs were conducted, all of which flowed oil, the maximum individual rate being 4,628 b/d, through a 3/4-inch choke. The well was plugged and abandoned as an oil discovery on 10 September.
On 23 September, the Benton Oil & Gas Co. announced that it had signed an agreement and plan of merger with Denver's Crestone Energy, 100% rightholder and operator of the controversialWAB-21 Block in the Spratlys Archipelago. Under the terms of the proposed US$15.45 million takeover, Crestone will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Benton and will continue as operator and rightholder of WAB-21. The transaction is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 1996.
Sumatra Gulf to Premier
On 20 September, Chevron announced the sale of its subsidiary Sumatra Gulf Oil to the UK's Premier Oil. In the sale, Premier will take Chevron's 66.66% interest in the Natuna Sea Block A PSC, including the Amoa oilfield, which is currently producing approximately 13,000 b/d.
Another Bunga Kekwa success
In the PM-3 Commercial Area, IPC's Bunga Kekwa A-2 appraisal/ development well was suspended as an oil and gas well on 22 August after testing 1,546 b/d of 38° API oil and 1.02 million cf/d gas from two zones between 1,975 and 2,083 meters. The well was sidetracked on two occasions and penetrated the main reservoir at an angle of 33°, reaching a driller's TD of 2,757 meters. Although the productivity of the well is significantly less than the first two on the prospect, according to IPC, it has greatly enhanced the understanding of the main reservoirs. The well will be completed in 1997 as part of the early production system.
Increase in Philippine awards
Several new contracts have been awarded in the Philippines in recent months. On 10 July, Philodrill signed for the 4,550 sq km GSEC 86 in the Northwest Palawan Basin for an 18-month term. The work commitments for this deepwater block include 250 km of 2D seismic acquisition and reprocessing of existing data at a minimum cost of $250,000; a 3D seismic survey is optional. ON the same date, Philodrill also signed for the 10,084 sq km mainly offshore GSEC 87 in the Sandakan and Tarakan Basins. Work commitments over the 18-month term are similar to those of GSEC 86. Dragon Oil/PNOC signed the 14,667 sq km GSEC 88 in the Mindoro Basins on 18 July, with the track divided into two portions, A and B, which will be operated by Dragon and PNOC respectively. Work obligations include a well in the Maniguin area in Block B, which has recently been spudded. In the Ilocos Basin of northwestern Luzon, Basic/Oriental were awarded the 5,000 sq km mainly offshore GSEC 90 on 26 August. The license is for an 18-month term.
Texaco drilling in Thai waters
InBlock B11/32 of the Pattani Basin, Texaco spudded exploration well Sontaya-1 on or around 17 September using the Ocean General semisubmersible in 52 meters of water. The well has a prognosed TD of 3,696 meters, targeting Lower Miocene/Oligocene sandstones, and is currently drilling ahead at around 1,524 meters.
Two dry holes in Vietnam
In Vietnam, both Total and Occidental have suffered disappointments in recent weeks. Total's 11-1-CT-1AX in Block 11-1 in the South Con Son Basin was plugged and abandoned dry at an undisclosed TD, after spudding on 13 August using KDC's Doo Sung semisubmersible. Meanwhile, Oxy's 04-3-DB-1X/1X (ST-2) in Block 04-3 was abandoned in late September. Having spudded on 6 June, the well reached an undisclosed TD without penetrating basement and apparently without success; this well concludes Oxy's commitment for the current exploration phase.
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