Exxon's Esso Exploration Angola has claimed deepwater discovery number five in Angola Block 15.

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Exxon's Esso Exploration Angola has claimed deepwater discovery number five in Angola Block 15. The latest discovery, Chocalho, was drilled in 3,763 ft water depth and flowed at a test rate of 4,554 b/d of oil. This discovery is added to Hungo, Kissanje, Marimba, and Dikanza (discovered last year), and pushes the potential recoverable reserves above the two billion boe mark. A production plan for the block is being finalized. Exxon operates the block with a 40% interest. Its partners include BP Amoco (26.67%), Agip (20%), and Statoil (13.33%).

Chevron has begun production on the Banzala Field in Block Ooffshore Cabinda. The field is now producing from three wells at about 7,500 b/d of oil. This is expected to increase to 25,000 b/d later this year with the addition of five wells. A second phase is also being planned to drill an additional five wells, which are expected to come onstream around the first quarter of next year. The oil is being transported to shore via pipeline to the Malongo terminal. This production is in-line with Chevron's goal of boosting its Angolan oil production to 600,000 b/d by 2001.

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Chevron's Block O production increases with the addition of the Banzala Field.
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Ranger Oil has finally signed the gas sales contract for the Espoir Field offshore Côte d'Ivoire. With this signing, the company will give the development the final go-ahead. Espoir is expected to produce about 20,000 b/d of oil and 30 MMcf/d of gas. The field will be developed using two wellhead platforms tied into an FPSO. Oil from the field will be transported to shore via tanker while gas will move through a pipeline.

Cameroon will open its Third Petroleum Licensing Roundon September 30. Areas on offer include the currently unlicensed deepwater acreage of the Douala/Kribi-Campo Basin and the onshore Logone Birini Basin in the northern region of the country. The offshore acreage covers about 2,400 sq km in water depth between 200 meters and 1,500 meters. The area has been covered by approximately 1,500 km of seismic, 1,200 km of which was shot last year by Western Geophysical. The round will close on March 31, 2000 and roadshows are scheduled for London and Houston this month.

Mobil's seismic program over Sao Tome & Principe has been completed. The company holds license under a technical evaluation agreement for the country's entire 22-block deepwater area. The agreement allows Mobil an 18-month period to evaluate the data and negotiate a production sharing agreement on the acreage. Mobil is currently evaluating the data.

Mobil is pulling out of one of its Nigeria deepwater concessions. The company has relinquished its 50% holding in OPL 221 after drilling three unsuccessful wells. Mobil won the block in the 1993 licensing round with partner BP Amoco. BP Amoco still holds the remaining 50%.

Namibia is still feeling the lasting effects of the market downturn. The country, like several others around the world, recently held a licensing round at the unfortunate timing of the decline in oil prices. As a result, Namibia's Third Licensing Round, while receiving several inquiries, received no formal bids for new licenses. The government has since adopted an open licensing system for the available licenses as an interim measure. Applications are now being accepted at any time and must follow the procedures used for the third round.

Nigerian indigenous Consolidated Oil is planning to begin drilling on its OPL 458 concession. The company will use the Saipem Scarabeo 4 semisubmersible for one well. Three wells have been drilled on the block thus far - Amabilo, Akani, and Ague - with little success. Consolidated Oil is the oil indigenous company in Nigeria that has its own production. The company began producing from its OML 103 block last year at 7,400 b/d of oil.


BP Amoco has announced four major deepwater discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico. The company said the Crazy Horse discovery in 6,000 ft water depth on Mississippi Canyon block 776, 777, and 778. The discovery is estimated to hold 1 billion bbl of oil equivalent and marks the largest discovery in the Gulf of Mexico to date. The company also announced the Atlantis discovery on Green Canyon 698, 699, 700, 742, 743, and 744, Mad Dog on Green Canyon 826, and Holstein on Green Canyon 644 and 645. These three discoveries are estimated to add about 600 million boe to the company's Gulf of Mexico reserves. BP Amoco operates all four discoveries. The partners in each find are: Crazy Horse (BP Amoco 75%, Mobil 25%), Atlantis (BP Amoco 56%, BHP 44%), Mad Dog (BP Amoco 63.56%, Unocal 25%, BHP 11.44%), and Holstein (BP Amoco 50%, Shell 50%).

Anadarko is strengthening its position in the Gulf of Mexico subsalt play. The company has acquired Texaco's 50% working interest in 82 blocks in the prolific subsalt trend of the Gulf of Mexico. The blocks cover about 400,000 gross acres in water depths from 85 ft to 2,400 ft. This acquisition has doubled Anadarko's subsalt trend holdings.

EEX has plugged and abandoned its well on the George Prospect in Gulf of Mexico Mississippi Canyon Block 442. The well was drilled to a total depth of 22,000 ft and encountered hydrocarbons in non-commercial quantities. The company has since began drilling on the Mackerel prospect in Mississippi Canyon 620. The well will test Lower Pliocene and Miocene aged sands.


Mobil has started production from its North Sumatra Offshore A Field offshore Indonesia. The field is expected to produce at peak rates of 450 MMcf/d of gas and will supplement production from the Arun Field to maintain existing LNG sales. The field is in a water depth of 350 ft and is producing from nine wells tied to a production platform. North Sumatra A was discovered in 1972 and Mobil holds a 100% working interest.

Phillips has made a discovery in Block 11/05 in China's Bohai Bay.The discovery well PL 19-3-1 was drilled in 75 ft of water and reached a total depth of 5,531 ft, encountering a gross pay interval of over 1,400 ft, with 320 ft of net pay in the Guantao Formation. An appraisal well, PL-19-3-2, immediately followed and encountered a gross pay interval of 1,700 ft, with 350 ft of net pay in the Guantao Formation. The well is currently being tested and contingent upon results another exploration well may be drilled 1.4 miles to the south.

Central Asia

BP Amoco has made a significant gas condensate discovery off Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea. The first well drilled on the Shah Deniz structure, SDX 1, encountered gas condensate in three separate zones with a total net pay zone of 220 meters. The lowest zone was tested and gas flowed 50 MMcf/d of gas and 2,695 b/d of condensate. A second well, SDX 2, is underway using the Istiglal jackup 6 km to the south. It should be completed by next month.


Texaco has signed on with TotalFina and Elf for a gas contractfor the Captain Field in the North Sea. The contract will allow gas from the field to travel to shore via TotalFina and Elf's Frigg pipeline network. The gas will come from Area B in the eastern portion of the field, which is currently under development. Production is expected to be 18 MMcf/d of gas.

Middle East

Isramco has begun drilling its second deepwater well offshore Israel. The Atwood Eagle semisubmersible has commenced drilling the Yam-West-2 well in the Med-Yavne license in a water depth 2,525 ft. The well will be drilled to a total depth of 10,500 ft and test zones from 8,960 ft and a possible gas reservoir at 5,412 ft.

BG and Edison International have encountered gas in the West Delta Deep Marine Concession in the Nile Delta offshore Egypt. The Simia-1 well tested 44 MMcf/d of gas and was drilled in a water depth of 590 meters. This is the sixth well drilled in the concession, all of which encountered gas. The first four wells discovered the Saffron/Scarab Field, which will be the first deepwater field in Egypt.

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