Cambodian state oil company
Reports suggest that the Cambodian government has begun studying the idea of setting up a national oil company to manage potential offshore hydrocarbon discoveries. Pou Sothirak, the Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy, is looking at Thailand's PTT as a model for the Cambodian company to be based on. However, it is unlikely that the company will be set up until the country has discovered resources of a practical size.
Mixed Chinese activity in Beibu & East Sea
UK-based independent Cairn Energy has signed a Production Sharing Contract for the 2,945 sq km Block 23/10 in the shallow waters of Wushi Sag area in the eastern Beibu Gulf. The standard seven-year, three-phase contract will apply with a work program of 2,000 km of seismic acquisition and one wildcat required in the first phase. Seismic recording is set to commence this year with drilling to follow in 1997; the Eocene Liushagang Formation is expected to provide both the source and reservoir in the area. The tract contains the WU 16-1 discovery that was drilled by total in the early 1980s, but which was not developed, since it was considered sub-commercial.
Arco has recorded its second disappointment in as many months in the offshore Hainan area, with the abandonment of the LS (Lingshui) 15-1 #1 wildcat in PSCA 52/12 on 17 December. The well was drilled to a TD of 3,697 meters and a seven-inch liner set at 3,631 meters, but was not tested. The West Alpha rig has now been released to Esso Norway.
In the Yinggehai Basin, local state affiliate CONHW has suffered a setback in its potential plans to develop the LD (Ledong) 15-1 gasfield. Appraisal well LD 15-1 #4 was plugged and abandoned on 10 December after reaching a TD of 2,025 meters and testing a cumulative flow of almost 32 million cf/d gas, but with up to 90% CO2 contamination. Recent Chinese reports have suggested that up to 632 bcf of combustible gas may be reservoired in the LD 15-1 structure.
In the East China Sea, Maxus has plugged and abandoned its first offshore China wildcat in PSCA 25/20. JH (Jinhua) 36-3 #1 was spudded on 3 December using the Nanhai 5 semisubmersible and was drilled to a TD of 2,461 meters without encountering any significant shows and was not tested. The rig was then moved to PSCA 34/02 to spud Esso's TB 8-1 #1 wildcat on 23 December. This well has a predicted TD of 3,705 meters and is presently drilling ahead at an undisclosed depth, after setting 30-inch conductor at 165 meters. In the eyes of many explorationists, this well represents the last remaining hopes of a significant discovery in the curently licensed acreage of the East China Sea.
Indonesia's Natuna Sea Kakap Block switches
Australian company Novus Petroleum and British partner Clyde Petroleum have signed Heads of Agreement with Marathon in relation to the Marathon-operated Kakap PSC, which contains four Natuna Sea fields. If final negotiations reach a successful conclusion, Novus will increase its interest in the PSC to 25%, while Clyde will become operator of the block, taking a 31.25% stakee. The transaction is still subject to final terms being agreed between the parties, to due diligence, and to several pre-conditions, including consent from the Indonesian authorities. Other interest holders are Discovery (18.75%), LL&E (15%), and Pertamina (10%).
Another LNG plant for Malaysian Sarawak
State company Petronas has signed a joint venture agreement with Nippon, Oxy, and Shell to construct and operate Malaysia's third LNG plant in Bintulu, Sarawak. The plant, named LNG-3, is scheduled to come onstream during the year 2001. Gas will be supplied to the plant from fields in the Central Luconia Basin, offshore Sarawak, and under the agreement, the operators will sell the gas "ex-platform" to Petronas, which will then be responsible for transport of the gas via pipeline to the plant.
Pandora gas to Queensland feasibility study underway
IPC and its six other partners in the PPL-82 joint venture have begun a feasibility study for the development of the Pandora gas discovery in the Gulf of Papua. The project is designed to study the feasibility and economics of constructing a pipeline from the field to north Queensland, Australia, for the supply of gas for power generation and industrial projects. High priority will be given to envirnomental considerations. The Pandora Field was discovered in 1988 by the Pandora A #1X wildcat which flowed 57 million cf/d gas and appraised by Pandora B #1X in 1992, which tested 43 million cf/d gas.
Another Pogo producer in Thailand's Block B8/32
Houston-based Pogo Producing Company has drilled and tested a second exploratory well on the Benchamas structure in Block B8/32 in the Gulf of Thailand. A program of four DSTs recorded cumulative flow rates of 33.3 million cf/d gas and 7,575 b/d oil/condensate from sections between 2,349-2,793 meters. The highest individual flow rate was 12.83 million cf/d gas and 1,242 b/d oil/condensate from the 2,474-2,494 meter interval. Benchamas #3 was spudded out of sequence as the first of a two firm plus two optionsal program on the structure. It is located some eight km north of Benchamas #1, which was completed in May of last year as an oil, gas, and condensate discovery.
Thai Palin Field talks still at loggerheads
Talks between PTT and Unocal regarding gas sales from the Pailin Field in the Gulf of Thailand are still deadlocked. The sticking point appears to be the cost of removing the relatively high level of CO2 content from the combustible gas. PTT wants the gas to be stripped of CO2 before buying it, while Unocal wants to sell the gas on a wellhead basis. CO2 removal facilities would represent a substantial investment for Unocal. Negotiators for both sides have warned that if agreement cannot be reached within six months, the September 1998 target of Pailin coming onstream will have to be put back.
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