International Focus

Dev George Houston "It does not take a great deal of intelligence to realize that unless international operators moderate the environmental effects of their operations then what has happened here will happen there. The writing is on the wall," says William Divine, president of the Petroleum Foundation of America, in this month's Beyond the Horizon guest column.


Poland's Baltic has gas.Petrobaltic, the Polish state offshore exploration company, has discovered extensive reservoirs of natural gas via four wells drilled from 30 to 105 km offshore Leba. Previous gas finds proved uncommercial, although Petrobaltic is now producing a modest amount of oil from its Rozewie Cap Field, drilled in 1991.

Norway-based PGS Exploration has launched the second in its revolutionary "Ramform" series of seismic vessels, the Ramform Challenger. This state-of-the-art acquisition vessel is capable of towing cables, four more than the Ramform Explorer.


Trinidad's Dolphin Field has come onstream. Production of its first gas was on 9 March. It is to provide 275 million cf/d for the Trinidad & Tobago National Gas Co, from reserves of more than 1 tcf. British Gas and Texaco operators of the field, plan $305 million in further investments.

The US Gulf of Mexico subsalt drilling program took a step backward with the Phillips/Amoco/Anadarko Alexandrite dry hole. It was one out of four wells drilled in the Mahogany prospect, three successful. Another, the Monazite well is currently being drilled.

Canada's Sable Island gas project (to provide gas to the US east coast) has slowed, albeit promoters still maintain it will make a 1999 production date. Problems have arisen in locating customers for the US$3 billion project.


Egypt's Nile Delta offshore Ras el-Barr is the site of another new gas discovery by Amoco, the Ha'py 1 discovery well tested three zones averaging 57 million cf/d, the largest yet recorded in Egypt. A previous well on the concession tested 28 million cf/d. Another well, Akhen 1, has been spudded.

Qatar's North Field process/utilities deck has been installed by NPCC of Abu Dhabi and Technip-Geoproduction of France. The 7,500 ton topside facilities were part of a EPCI contract awarded by Qatargas. The production deck was floated over and mated to the jacket using the Unideck process.

The Azerbaijan International Operating Consortium for developing the Azeri-Chiraq-Guneshli oilfields has changed somewhat. Pennzoil has sold 7.45% of its stake to Japan's Itochu Corp., leaving it with only slightly over 2% interest in the $8 billion project.


Nigeria's offshore squabble between Elf and Mobil over their unitized Amenam/ Kpomno Field, which straddles their respective blocks, is on again. Elf is arguing that 80-90% of the field is within its concession and that it has been more successful with its four wells than Mobil has with its three. Mobil has countered with its experience and ability to tie into its Ekpe Field for easier and less expensive development. Negotiations are being refereed by the Nigerian Dept. of Petroleum Resources.

Equatorial Guinea's Zafiro Field, operated by Mobil, has been extended by another successful test of another well, Topacio 1, which was drilled three miles south of the discovery well. It flowed 11,055 b/d oil and 4.2 million cf/d gas. Three other successful wells were drilled in the prospect last year. Production via FPS is to begin later this year.

South Africa National Oil Co. (Soekor) has granted Phillips exclusive rights to evaluate oil and gas in its Blocks 17 and 18 along the east coast of South Africa, some 15 million acres in the Indian Ocean.

Guinea has awarded its 16.8 million acre aquatory to USOil Corp. for exploration and development. The company has reprocessed seismic data and is currently negotiating for partners in the project. Both Shell and Monument Petroleum have been active in the area.


India's Ratna-R oilfields in the Bombay High are to be developed by Essar Oil (India) and Premier Oil Pacific (UK). Some 30 wells will be drilled some 90 km offshore south of Bombay, at a cost of $270 million. Recoverable reserves are set at 90 million bbl oil and 1 billion cubic meters of gas.

The Australian Northwest Shelf has produced a surprise discovery for Chevron. Drilling an appraisal well, Lambert 2, not far from the Wanea and Cossack Fields, it found oil and gas in two separate reservoirs. The discovery tested 6,259 b/d oil.

Thailand's Pakakrong structure in the Gulf of Thailand, has again been successfully tested by Maersk. The Pakakrong 2 well tested 1,636 b/d oil and 10 million cf/d gas, but with up to 60% CO2. The first well only produced 3%.

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