BHP speeds up Wildling appraisal, raises exploration spend

BHP Billiton has accelerated its Wildling appraisal well to establish the resource scale and potential for commerciality of its Caicos oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico.

Offshore staff

SYDNEY, AustraliaBHP Billiton has accelerated its Wildling appraisal well to establish the resource scale and potential for commerciality of its Caicos oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, the company said in its half-yearly 2016 results. Wildling was spud in January.

TheInvictus rig was mobilized to Wildling when Phase 1 of the Trinidad and Tobago deepwater drilling campaign was concluded after non-commercial hydrocarbons were encountered at the Burrokeet-2 well.

During the December 2016 half year, the company won the bid to acquire a 60% participating interest in and the operatorship of blocks AE-0092 and AE-0093, containing the Trion discovered resource, in Mexico.

Subject to satisfaction of conditions, BHP Billiton anticipates signing the relevant agreements in the March 2017 quarter.

“Trion provides us with a ‘first mover’ advantage and an opportunity to further appraise and potentially develop this area of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the company noted.

BHP Billiton booked positive drilling results during 2H 2016 at two of its deepwater exploration wells. Oil was encountered in multiple horizons at Caicos, and gas was encountered in multiple horizons at the LeClerc well in Trinidad and Tobago.

Studies have also commenced on the volume and potential market for the gas discovered at LeClerc to assess commerciality.

All major projects under development are tracking to plan, BHP said.

While capital and exploration expenditure decreased by 38% to $2.7 billion during the 2H 2016, the company said it now expects to invest $5.6 billion in the 2017 financial year and $6.3 billion in the 2018 financial year. This reflects a bump in exploration spend for both years.

Following the successful bid for Trion in Mexico and the drilling results at LeClerc and Caicos, a $820-million exploration program is now planned for the current financial year. This reflects an increase from even July, when BHP announced it planned a $700 million exploration program.

Following operator BP’s sanctioning of the project, BHP approved an expenditure of $2.2 billion for its share of theMad Dog Phase 2 project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

02/21/2017

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