India awards blocks

July 1, 2001
The results are in on round two of India's new exploration licensing.

India awards blocks

The results are in on round two of India's new exploration licensing. The government received a total of 44 bids for the 23 blocks on offer, which included 16 offshore. India's state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) and the consortium led by ONGC won 16 of the blocks put out for bid. A partnership of Reliance Industries Ltd. and Hardy Exploration and Production India Ltd., which dominated offshore bidding, won four of the eight deepwater and four shallow-water blocks. ONGC won bids for six blocks without a partner and several more as a participant in a number of consortia.

Shell Bangladesh to test for hydrocarbons

Shell Bangladesh Exploration & Develop-ment B.V. (SBED) announced that it will carry out tests in June to confirm possible hydrocarbons in the offshore South Sangu 2 field. According to a Bangladesh state-run oil and gas company representative, a new well will be drilled within 90 days. Co-venturers SBED, Cairn Energy PLC, and Halliburton Co. produce 15-160 MMcf/d of natural gas from the Block 16-based Sangu field.

NZOG plans wells

New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZOG) is planning the Tui-1 well in the Taranaki Basin just west of Maui. The well will test a series of five stacked dip closures at 3,400 meter water depth and will intersect the shallower Moki formation, which has been identified through seismic analysis as having a hydrocarbon charge. NZOG plans to join with other companies with drilling plans in place in order to share the cost of bringing an offshore drilling unit to New Zealand in the second half of the year.

Australia lists Q1 2001 discoveries

Australia's Geological Survey Organization reported that the exploration industry made a record 12 discoveries in the first quarter of this year - five in the offshore Carnarvon and Bonaparte basins and seven in the Otway basin off Victoria and central Australia's Cooper/ Eromanga basins. Twenty-two of the 31 discoveries reported over the past year were offshore discoveries. At the insistence of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Assoc-iation, the Australian government is providing more incentives to encourage prospecting in frontier deepwater regions and other high-risk areas.

New gas find in Otway Basin

Origin Energy Ltd. announced a new gas find in Australia's Otway Basin offshore Victoria. The Thylacine 1 exploration well found a 280-meter, gross-gas column toward the end of the second quarter 2001. Origin is part of a consortium that has been named by the South Australian government as the preferred entity to bring competing gas supplies into the state through a new pipeline. This consortium, South Australia Gas Pty Ltd, made up of Origin, Australian National Power, and South Australian Magnesium Project (SAMAG) is one of five groups looking into gas pipeline construction to South Australia.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (50% stakeholder) managed drilling operations for Thylacine 1 under agreement with Origin. Benaris International NV holds a 20% stake in the project. Origin has already targeted new offshore gas supplies for the Victoria market from 2004 through the Bass Gas joint venture, which is developing gas resources from the Bass Basin between Victoria and Tasmania.

Chiles Discovery to work on Bayu Undan

Chiles offshore Inc. was awarded a long-term contract by an affiliate of Phillips Petroleum for a new ultra-premium jackup, which is still under construction at Keppel FELS' Singapore shipyard. The rig is to be delivered in the second quarter of next year to begin work by the end of June 2002 in Phillips' Bayu Undan Gas Recycle Project in the Timor Gap, located between Australia and East Timor. The contract spans the drilling of 15 wells with a duration of 600 days, with an option to extend the contract to include up to five more wells.

Seismic company builds base in Houston

China National Offshore Oil Geophysical Corporation's Orient Data Processing Company signed an agreement in 2Q 2001 to open an international seismic data prospecting service based in Houston. This move will undoubtedly bring new vitality to Orient. In this deal, struck with Houston-based Zpower Company, Orient will provide market information and contracts for seismic data processing as well as hardware and software to set up shop.

Dongfeng 1-1 project goes into operation

China's second largest gas field, Dongfeng 1-1, in the South China Sea is now onstream. Chinese National Offshore Oil Corp. invested in this upstream-downstream project with plans to build two production platforms from which to move natural gas ashore. China Offshore Oil Engineering Company Ltd. (COOEC) won the bid for this development project and will cooperate with foreign investors to complete the job. The project involves inviting a foreign company as a project manager and entrusting a foreign party with the project's design details. The first step in securing foreign involvement has already been taken, with COOEC representatives en route to Australia.

Delek Energy venture drilling off Vietnam

Delek Energy Systems announced that a natural gas exploration venture in which it owns 18% began drilling the Swan well off the coast of Vietnam. Drilling is scheduled to conclude at the end of July. The other partners in this venture are Samedan Vietnam (60%) and Opeco Natural Gas Ltd. (22%).

South Korea finds oil off Vietnam

Korea's state-owned Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) announced completion of its first appraisal well in the Sutu Den prospect of Block 15-1 in Vietnam's Cuu Long Basin, finding more oil than forecast. The well has an estimated 400 million bbl of oil in reserves, 150 million more bbl than anticipated.

Well SD-2X produced 4,809 b/d of oil at the outset, but further testing could see the well reach 12,621 b/d. If a second test well yields favorable results, the Sutu Den prospect will be developed, with first oil possible by 2003. Shareholders in the block are KNOC (14.25%), PetroVietnam (50%), Conoco (23.25%), and South Korea's SK Corp (9%).

BP to build power plant in Vietnam

BP has secured approval from the Vietnamese government for construction of a $359 million gas-fired power plant. The first step toward construction of the Phu My 3 plant is for the Vietnam Industry Ministry to sign a build-operate-transfer contract, while the Planning and Investment Ministry signs a government guarantee and issues an investment license. Construction is scheduled to conclude 25-26 months after the license is issued.

The Phu My 3 plant will be fueled with natural gas piped ashore from the Nam Con Son Basin. BP will own a 100% stake in the 700-megawatt plant when Norwegian partner Statoil withdraws from the project. The Norwegian company announced that it has signed a deal to sell its 13.33% stake. State-run Petrovietnam has a 15% stake in the overall project. Other stakeholders are BP (26.67%) and India's ONGC Videsh (45%).

Pre-drilling at Wenchang over

With a united effort made by Southern Drilling, Southern Shipping, the Zhanjiang Branch of China Offshore Oil Technical Services, Nanhai West Corp., and the General Wenchang Project Group, pre-drilling in the Wenchang 13-1/2 oil field was rounded off with the Nanhai 2 platform departing the field in late May. During the nine-and-a-half month pre-drilling, Nanhai 2 was hit three times by typhoon attacks. It completed transporting, handing over, and installing of two pedestal disks for seabed drilling, and drilled 21 wells, including three extended-reach horizontal wells and two inclined wells.