Bangladesh's Block 17 and 18. Thailand's giant Benchamas-Pakakrong. Vietnam's highly sought Block 15-1 has been awarded to France's Geopetrol and a consortium headed by Conoco.

Bangladesh awards Blocks 17 and 18

On 18 January, Rexwood Resources/ Oakland, of the USA, signed a PSC with state company Petrobangla for Blocks 17 and 18 in the Bengal Basin. The acreage covers an area of 18,567 sq km in the southeast of Bangladesh's aquatory. It is the first contract to be signed since June 1995 and is for a seven-year exploration period, extendible to 25 years in the case of a discovery. The work commitment requires both reprocessing of existing seismic and acquisition of new data.

Myanmar's Block M-8 goes to Total-Unocal

Total (52.5%, operator) and Unocal (47.5%) were awarded Block M-8 in the Gulf of Martaban on 30 January, under production sharing terms. The block has been awarded for an initial two-year exploration period with only a seismic commitment in the first phase. Two two-year and two one-year extensions are available. The newly awarded track is located to the south of Total's M-5 (which contains the Yadana Field) and to the west of Arco's M-9, which will shortly be the site of a wildcat well.

Considerable activity in China's Beibu and Bohai

US independent, Santa Fe, was awarded two tracks in the South China Sea on 16 January. The 3,200 sq km PSCA 15/34 in the Pearl River Mouth Basin is covered by the standard (Fourth Round) offshore PSC of seven years, with three exploration phases of three, two, and two years. It is located adjacent to the Kerr McGee-operated PSCA 27/11, in which Santa Fe holds a 40% rightholding. In the Beibu Gulf, Santa Fe will operate PSCA 23/28 (2,180 sq km), which lies to the north of Hainan Island adjacent to Cairn's PSCA 23/20. Work commitments over the blocks include 2D and 3D seismic acquisition plus drilling. Santa Fe plans to open an office in China in 1997 and commence seismic acquisition by mid-year.

In PSCA 11/05 in the Bohai Gulf, Phillips's first wildcat on the track, Bozhong (BZ) 22-2-1, was plugged and abandoned as a non-commercial oil and gas discovery on 7 January. The well, which was spudded in June 1996, reached a TD of 4,348 meters in sidetracked hole. The Bohai-4 rig was subsequently released to Kerr McGee for a delineation well in PSCA 04/36.

Apache (50%, operator) and partner XCL (50%) have completed operations on the Zhao Dong D (ZDD) 2 appraisal well in the Zhao Dong PSCA in the western Bohai beach area. After drilling to a TD of 2,286 meters, five intervals between 1001-1,659 meters in the Mio-Pliocene Minghuazhen and Guantao Formations were subsequently tested. The deepest of the tests flowed 4,370 b/d oil plus gas, while the other four tested intervals recorded a combined daily rate of 7,201 b/d oil. The results have potentially significant implications for the commerciality of the block, as the well has proven that the "C" and "D" structures are linked.

Pogo takes over giant Thai Benchamas-Pakakrong

Mersk has completed a successful five-well program on the Benchamas structure in B8/32 in the Malay Basin. Of the five wells, Benchamas-8 was tested in three intervals and flowed at a cumulative rate of 13.8 MMcf/d gas and 904 b/d oil and condensate. The four other wells (5,6,9, and 10) encountered net pays of 72 meters, 35 meters, 70 meters, and 107 meters respectively in Miocene sandstones but were not tested. The nine wells drilled to date on the Benchamas structure have established production along a 29 km fault system. Partner Pogo has now assumed operatorship of the concession following Mersk's sale of assets and has made a formal application for a production area over the Benchamas and Pakakrong Fields. Meanwhile, in early February, Pogo brought the Tantawan oil and gas field onstream in the same block. The field was originally discovered by Mersk, which sold its equity in the field to the other partners in March 1995.

Texaco abandons Bussabong near Bongkot

Texaco's Bussabong-2X, located directly west of the Bongkot Field in B12/32 in the Malay Basin, was abandoned in late December 1996 after flowing at a maximum rate of 21 MMcf/d gas and 115 b/d condensate. The well had been spudded on 1 November 1996 using Diamond Drilling's Ocean General semisubmersible and reached a TD of 2,782 meters.

Mudas continue to pay in Malay/Thai JDA

CPOC has successfully completed Muda-2 and -3 as gas/condensate wells in the MTJDA Block B-17 in the Malay Basin. The wells flowed at the rate of 35 MMcf/d gas, 194 b/d condensate, and 22 MMcf/d gas, 259 b/d condensate respectively. CPOC immediately moved the Actina and Falcon rigs to spud Muda-4 and Jangka-1.

Vietnam's Dai Hung goes to Petronas Carigali

Ending months of speculation, BHP has withdrawn from Block 05-1W in the Nam Con Son Basin. BHP's 43.750% rightholding has been absorbed by Petronas Carigali, which increases its equity to 72.857% and becomes operator. BHP had been attempting to sell its stake in the block, which contains the producing Dai Hung (Big Bear) oilfield, for some time since PetroVietnam decided that it would not consider revision of the PSC terms unless additional wells were drilled. Petronas intends to drill two wells on the structure this year.

Elsewhere, Fina has suspended its 51-UM-1X wildcat in Block 51 in the Malay Basin as a gas/condensate discovery, after the well flowed at a combined rate of 36.4 MMcf/d gas and 523 b/d condensate. The well had been drilled to a TD of 2,765 meters using KDC's Doo Sung semisubmersible, having spudded on 21 December 1996. The hydrocarbons were recovered from Middle and Lower Miocene sandstones. Fina will drill three more wells in Block 46 in the current drilling program.

In Block 05-3 in the Nam Con Son Basin, EDC has plugged and abandoned 05-3-CCT-1X as dry. The Stena Clyde semisubmersible immediately relocated to spud 05-1BTLB-1X for MJC in Block 05-1B. This exploration well is locate on the northern part of the Blue Dragon structure.

Copyright 1997 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.

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