North America

Statoil and Husky Energy have started to acquire 3D seismic over their Bay du Nord discovery area in the Flemish Pass basin off Newfoundland & Labrador.

BeckmanJeremy Beckman • London

Statoil and Husky Energy have started to acquire 3D seismic over their Bay du Nord discovery area in the Flemish Pass basin off Newfoundland & Labrador. This will be followed by a new 18-month deepwater drilling campaign.

Caribbean Sea

BG Group has agreed to take a 30% stake in a 14,356-sq km (5,543-sq mi) exploration block offshore Aruba. The concession is in water depths of 400-1,800 m (1,312-5,905 ft) with identified prospects. 3D seismic will be acquired over the acreage this year.


Offshore Trinidad and Tobago, BG Group and BHP Billiton were the successful bidders for the Deep Atlantic Area blocks 3 and 7, under the 2013 deepwater bid round. Both sets of blocks are off the islands' southeast coast. Initial commitments call for 2D seismic acquisition and geological studies, followed by four wells in later phases. Total investments for the blocks will be around $250 million.

BP has committed to build its fourth platform offshore Trinidad. The Juniper project will harness gas from the Corallita and Lantana fields 50 mi (80 km) off Trinidad's southeast coast, connected via five subsea wells to the normally unmanned platform with production capacity of 590 MMcf/d (17 MMcm/d). From there the gas will head through a new 10-km (6.2-mi) flowline to the Mahogany B hub. BP expects start-up in 2017.


Rosneft and PDVSA will collaborate on two development programs offshore Venezuela in the Rio-Caribe and Mejillones blocks (Phase 2 of the Mariscal Sucre project). Additionally, the companies plan to form a joint venture engaged in drilling, re-completions, and well infrastructure.


Repsol was awarded operatorship of the COL4 license in the Caribbean Sea under Colombia's 2014 licensing round, in partnership with ExxonMobil and Statoil. Initial work commitments include acquiring 2D and 3D seismic.


Location of the Libra well in the Santos basin. (Map courtesy Petrobras)

Petrobras has started to drill its first appraisal well in the presalt Santos basin Libra area, 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of the discovery well and 170 km (105 mi) from Rio de Janeiro state. TheNS-36 rig was due to drill down to a final depth of 5,850 m (19,193 ft). Petrobras has also nominated Odebrecht Oil & Gas as lead commercial bidder for the Libra FPSO, which is due to start operations in early 2017.

In the Santos basin presalt block BM-S24, the company has also confirmed an extension of the Jupiter discovery. The Apollonia well intersected a 285-ft (87-m) oil column, along with gas and condensate.

West Africa

Liberia's government has opened the country's latest bid round covering four undrilled offshore exploration blocks. TGS has acquired 2D seismic over blocks LB-6 and LB-7, and 2D/3D data over blocks LB-16 and LB-17. Bids are due in by Oct. 31, 2014.


Tullow Oil and partner Hyperdynamics could spud the Fatala-1 exploration well offshore Guinea later this year. This follows Tullow's decision to lift Force Majeure on the block in May, which it imposed briefly after a US regulatory investigation of its partner.


Vioco Petroleum, a part-owned subsidiary of Australian company Azonto, has submitted a new development plan for the shallow-water Gazelle gas field in block CI-102 off Côte d'Ivoire. This involves supplying the gas directly to a new power plant that would be built next to the field's onshore processing facilities. The project could start by year-end.

TheN'Goma FPSO at the Paenal yard. (Photo courtesy SBM)

The FPSON'Goma has sailed from the Paenal yard in Port Amboim, Angola to its offshore location in block 15/06, where it will serve Eni's West Hub development. The company hopes to achieve first oil by year-end. The project takes in the Cinguvu, Mpungi, and Sangos fields in water depths of 1,000-1,500 m (3,281-4,921 ft) and involves drilling 21 subsea wells including four alternate water and gas injectors.


Ghana's parliament has ratified a petroleum agreement giving Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas a 50.51% operating interest in the Deepwater Cape Three Points West block, adjacent to the producing Jubilee field. Water depths range from 800-2,000 m (2,625-6,562 ft). The agreement could last for 25 years, pending discovery of oil within the first seven years.


Shell has started oil production from the deepwater Bonga North West development. The oil is transported through a new subsea pipeline to the existing Bonga field FPSO, which has been upgraded to handle the extra input. One oil well is online, but eventually Bonga North West will deliver 40,000 boe/d through four oil producers and two water injectors, all connected to the FPSO.

Sirius Petroleum has raised funds through a share placing for a drilling program in Nigeria's offshore OML 95 lease. The company plans three development wells on the Ororo field, which Schlumberger has agreed to drill on a turnkey basis.


Eni has discovered gas and condensate with its presalt Nyonie Deep exploratory well on Gabon's D4 block, 13 km (5 mi) from the coast. The NFW Nyonie Deep 1 well, drilled in 28 m (92 ft) of water, encountered hydrocarbons in the presalt Aptian-age clastic sequence. Eni says the structure, which extends for more than 40 sq km (15 sq mi), covers two blocks and could hold 500 MMboe. It plans a follow-up appraisal campaign.

Harvest Natural Resources has signed a declaration of commerciality for Gabon's Dussafu offshore block, which contains four presalt oil finds. These have been renamed Ruche A, B, C, and D. Harvest and partner Panoro Energy plan subsea wells tied back to an FPSO.

Gabon's government has awarded new offshore licenses. Noble Energy operates block F15 in partnership with Woodside Petroleum: the concession, 140 km (87 mi) offshore southwest Gabon, extends more than 2,700 sq km (1,0142 sq mi) and in water depths from 2,300-3,000 m (7,546-9,842 ft). It includes identified subsalt leads. London-based Impact Oil & Gas has secured offshore blocks B7, D13, and D14.

Arctic Ocean

The Rosneft/ExxonMobil joint venture has started exploratory drilling in the Kara Sea off northern Russia. North Atlantic Drilling's semisubmersibleWest Alpha spud the first well on the Universitestakaya structure, having undergone upgrades to safeguard critical equipment against the effect of low temperatures. Water depth in the area is 81 m (266 ft).

Black Sea

OMV Petrom has discovered a new oil field in shallow water in the Romanian sector. The Marina 1 well was drilled in 50 m (164 ft) of water in the Istria XVII permit, 60 km (37 mi) from the shore. Early test results suggested potential flow rates per well of 1,500-2,000 boe/d. OMV Petrom is already assessing options for a development with costs likely to exceed $135 million. In the deepwater Romanian sector, the company has also been drilling an appraisal well on the potentially giant Domino gas discovery in partnership with ExxonMobil.

Middle East

BG Group and its partners have submitted a plan to develop the Notus high-pressure/high-temperature and Harmatten Deep gas discoveries in the Egyptian sector of the Mediterranean Sea, in accordance with the El Burg Offshore concession agreement. BG cautions, however, that releasing funds for further Egyptian development projects, including West Delta Deep Marine Phase 9b, is contingent on an improvement in the country's investment conditions.


Consultants Netherland, Sewell & Associates have increased their range of estimates for gas resources in the deepwater Leviathan field offshore Israel, following fresh analysis of 3D seismic surveys and other studies. The low estimate has increased 11% from 14.89-16.58 tcf, and the high end by 10% from 24.14-26.52 tcf.

However, Israel's Petroleum Commissionaire has blocked a proposed development of the Tamar SW gas discovery through the existing Tamar field facilities. According to Delek Group, which has subsidiary companies working on the project with operator Noble Energy, this appears to be due to a small encroachment of the discovery into the Eran/353 license. The partners have lodged an appeal with the Israeli High Court.


ADMA-OPCO has issued a letter of award to Hyundai Heavy Industries for new facilities for the offshore Nasr oil field, 130 km (81 mi) northwest of Abu Dhabi. Under the $1.94-billion engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning contract Hyundai will build and install three new platforms, modify three existing facilities, and lay close to 200 km (124 mi) of new subsea power and infield cables. The program, due to be completed by the second half of 2019, should lift oil production capacity at the field from the present 22,000 b/d to 65,000 b/d.


Oman's Ministry of Oil & Gas has invited bids for two offshore blocks. Block 18 is in the north Sohar basin in water depths of 98.4-9,842 ft (30-3,000 m), while block 59 is off the eastern coast of central Oman in water depths of up to 11,811 ft (3,600 m).

East Africa

Woodside Petroleum has agreed to farm into 70% of the mainly offshore Lake Tanganyika South block in Tanzania, which is currently held by Beach Energy. The proposed work program includes seismic studies, with an option for future drilling and operatorship.


KrisEnergy has agreed to acquire Chevron Overseas Petroleum (Cambodia) for $65 million. The package includes a 30% operated interest in offshore block A, in which Chevron discovered the Apsara oil field during the previous decade. The 4,709-sq km (1,818-sq mi) concession is over the Khmer basin in the Gulf of Thailand, in water depths of 50-80 m (164-262 ft). KrisEnergy and the remaining partners plan a development involving a platform and 24 wells with oil sent to a storage vessel prior to export.


Octanex has secured finance to develop the Ophir field offshore Malaysia via a wellhead platform and three production wells, with a leased storage/offloading tanker. The company estimates the overall project costs at $135 million.


CNOOC has started production from two more development projects offshore China. Panyu 10-2/5/8 in the Pearl River Mouth basin of the South China Sea takes in the Panyu 10-2, 10-5 and 10-8 oil fields, all connected to existing facilities at the Panyu 4-2 field complex. The company has installed one wellhead platform with four wells online and five more to follow, building to peak production of 13,000 b/d next year.

The other onstream project is the Lishui 36-1 gas field, 150 km (93 mi) from Wenzhou city Zheijiang province, which CNOOC developed in partnership with Primeline. Investments include a production platform, four production wells, and a subsea pipeline connected to an onshore processing terminal. Gas is sold to the Zheijiang Provincial Gas Grid.


ConocoPhillips has discovered gas with its Pharos-1 well in the Browse basin offshore Western Australia, according to partner Karoon Gas. The semisubTransocean Legend drilled the well that was designed to test an extension of the Proteus-1 find 5.59 mi (9 km) to the southwest, which established condensate-bearing gas in the Montara formation.

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