Greece leads Balkan revival

Elf's Oil & Gas division executive vice-president, F. Isoard, said his own company had signed an accord with Libya last year which could lead to development of two Libyan offshore oilfields, Z4 and Z7. But he felt the best potential for future discoveries lay in the eastern Mediterranean.

Elf's Oil & Gas division executive vice-president, F. Isoard, said his own company had signed an accord with Libya last year which could lead to development of two Libyan offshore oilfields, Z4 and Z7. But he felt the best potential for future discoveries lay in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece is one of several Balkan nations in this area opening its waters to the international oil industry. Teresa Fokianou-Malaveta, MD of Greek state upstream concern DEP-EKY, insisted that Athens had launched the world's first minerals licensing round in 490 BC. But the Greek Petroleum Law was not drafted until 1995. The aim was to reduce Greece's reliance on imports for 95% of its hydrocarbon needs.

A first Greek Petroleum Licensing issued the same year led to the recent award of one offshore block in the Gulf of Patraikos to Triton. Fokianou-Malaveta promised that more offshore areas would be offered for the 2nd Round, due out by 2000.

A separate paper by S.Xenopoulos and M.Loukogiannakis, also of DEP-EKY, underlined the importance of a new exploration effort. Greek offshore oil production still centers on the Prinos Field in the shallow North Aegean Kavala Gulf, which has yielded over 100MM bbl since start-up in 1981.

Following a decline in the mid-80s, production has leveled off at 8-10,000b/d based on a program of drilling infill producer wells in areas of remaining oil production, and accelerating output from two zones in the Miocene sands.

Last August, 22 years after its discovery, Prinos North finally began producing through a horizontal well from one of the main Prinos drilling platforms. Analysis of this structure, 2.5 km north of the Prinos reservoir, was patchy until a 3D seismic survey covering the entire region in 1993. A successful appraisal well followed which tested 3,300b/d from two Miocene sands up to 2,350 meters deep.

In the event, DEP-EKY vetoed a separate platform or production jack-up in favor of the 2.5 km horizontal well drilled from the slot of an old Prinos injector well. Depending on performance in the coming months, DEP-EKY will decide whether to expand the production scheme.

Also in the Balkan region, T.Dragasevic and V.Kovacevic of Jugopetrol, Kotor reviewed the structural-tectonic and petroleum-geological characteristics of near coast and offshore Montenegro. Latterly three offshore wells have been drilled here, one of which, JJ-1, was located on top of Messinian anchydrates. At a depth of 3,000 meters, the well then entered Chatian-Oligocene sandstones and limestones where it obtained wet gas at very low pressure. An in-progress well UK-1, drilled on land close to the shore, found oil following acid stimulation.

The authors concluded that these nearcoast areas are characterized by structural and tectonic hetereogeneity, and that there are secondary depocenters and numerous structures potentially bearing hydrocarbons. The oil and gas finds confirm the presence of source rocks in the area.

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