North America

Oct. 14, 2016
The West Orphan basin offshore Newfoundland and Labrador could hold 25.5 Bbbl of oil and 20.6 tcf, according to French geoscience group Beicip-Franlab.
Jeremy Beckman • London

North America

The West Orphan basin offshore Newfoundland and Labrador could hold 25.5 Bbbl of oil and 20.6 tcf, according to French geoscience group Beicip-Franlab. This follows analysis of recent 2D and 3D surveys acquired by TGS and PGS over the province’s slope and deepwater areas, which led to identification of a new Lower Tertiary play trend. Nine parcels in the area, 300 km (186 mi) northeast of Newfoundland, will be included in C-NLOPB’s forthcoming 2016 Eastern Newfoundland Call for Bids.


PEMEX has reportedly discovered ultra-light crude in two deepwater prospects in the Gulf of Mexico with potential reserves of 140-160 MMboe. The company also proved light crude and gas with another well on the Teca structure, 30 km (18.6 mi) from the Gulf coast, with estimated resources of 50-60 MMboe.

South America

Petrobras and Statoil have agreed to work together to improve oil recovery from mature fields in the Campos and Santos basins. They also plan to participate jointly in future bids for exploratory areas both offshore Brazil and elsewhere. Currently they co-operate in 10 E&P blocks in Brazil and three more overseas.

Hansa loading pipe racks in Brazil for the FPSOP-67. (Photo courtesy Hansa Transport)

Hansa Heavy Lift has transported pipe racks and modules for Petrobras’ new FPSOP-67, which will operate in a presalt region. The cargo was loaded onto the HHL Valparaiso at Itajai and Rio for onward transportation to Qingdao, China, where it will be connected to the FPSO’s hull.


Shell has extended MODEC’s operations and maintenance contract for the FPSOFluminense to December 2020. This has produced oil and gas from the Bijupirá and Salema fields in the Campos basin since 2003. Currently MODEC is constructing its twelfth FPSO for the Brazilian sector, the Cidade de Campos dos Goytacazes MV29. It is due to be installed late next year at the Tartaruga Verde/Tartaruga Mestiça fields in the same basin.


Uruguay’s government has authorized state-owned ANCAP to work with TGS on commercializing a multi-client well data program to support the country’s future exploration wells. TGS can provide access to extensive information on logs and borehole data from its global database. Earlier this year Total drilled the country’s first deepwater exploratory well.


British Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan held talks with officials in Buenos Aires last month. Among the subjects discussed were ways of easing Argentina’s restrictive measures around oil and gas operations in the Falkland Islands. One initiative agreed on involves allowing the islands to set up flight connections with other nearby countries, including Argentina.

West Africa

Lekoil hopes to produce first oil later this year from its Otakpipo field development in a swamp location in Nigeria’s OML 11 lease. Installation and welding was in progress last month on the offshore pipeline – all four first-phase wells are drilled and ready for production.


Pura Vida Energy is seeking partners to help appraise and develop the shallow-water 141-MMbbl Loba oil field offshore Gabon. The company aims to commission a production test, taking advantage of currently lower oilfield service costs, followed by fuller-scale production 12 months later.


Gazpromneft has brought onstream two more production wells and two injectors at the Prirazlomnoye field in the Pechora Sea off northern Russia. All were drilled by Gazprom Bureniye LLC from the ice-resistant offshore platform, which houses all wellheads at its base. Eventually the operator aims to have 32 wells in service.


Rosneft and Statoil have produced first oil from an extended-reach well drilled from shore into the Lebedanskoye field in the Sea of Okhotsk. The start-up flow rate was about 400 b/d. Rosneft plans two more horizontal production wells on the field, ranging in length from 5,000-7,000 m (16,404-22,966 ft).

Route of the proposed TurkStream gas line through the Black Sea. (Map courtesy Gazprom)

Turkey has issued a permit to Gazprom for construction of the offshore section of the TurkStream pipeline through the Black Sea. This will transport gas from fields onshore Russia southeastwards, with all initial supplies dedicated to the Turkish market. Revival of the previously suspended project follows the recent thaw in relations between Turkey and Russia.

Mediterranean Sea

Eni and OAO Novatek have ratified a concession contract covering four exploration blocks offshore Montenegro. The government provisionally awarded the duo licenses 4118-4, 5, 9, and 10 under the country’s First International Competitive Bid Round. Eni is the operator.


Cyprus’s government received bids from eight companies for blocks 6, 8 and 10, south of the island under the recent third licensing round. Applicants included ExxonMobil, Statoil, and Eni in partnership with Total.

Lloyd’s Register has started advising state oil concern Cyprus Hydrocarbons Co. on development and monetization of resources from the 13 southern offshore blocks, which could hold up to 60 tcf of gas.

Off neighboring Israel, the government is reportedly planning to offer 24 blocks under the country’s first offshore licensing round. This will focus mainly on the Levant basin and Eastern Mediterranean, close to producing fields or others approaching development, such as Leviathan. Water depths range from 1,500-1,800 m (4,921-5,905 ft).


Egypt too is said to have authorized five new oil and gas drilling and exploration agreements, four of which are in gas-prone regions in the Mediterranean Sea. Companies involved are said to be BP, Edison, Eni, and Total.

Eni says Zohr 5x, the latest completed well on the giant Zohr structure in the deepwater Shorouk block, intersected a 180-m (590-ft) continuous hydrocarbon column in the southwestern part of the field. A sixth well is planned over the remainder of this year, followed by the start of commercial production by the end of 2017.

Caspian Sea

The jacket for the Shah Deniz 2 production and risers platform was due to be installed at the offshore location in the Azeri sector in 94 m (308 ft) of water. The Heydar Aliyev Baku Deepwater Jackets Factory constructed the 13,150-metric ton (14,495-ton), 105-m (344-ft) tall structure which will accommodate 12 production risers, three export risers, and a monoethylene glycol import riser.

Middle East

Saudi Aramco and the STAR yard have completed work on the largest offshore tie-in platform built to date in Saudi Arabia. STAR, a joint venture between Saudi Enterprises and Saipem, constructed the Marham TP-9 deck at King Abdul Aziz Port of Dammam.


Masirah Oil Exploration has secured a three-year extension to March 2020 for its E&P agreement for block 50 offshore Oman. The company plans to drill another exploration well on the concession next year, following on from this year’s Manarah-1 well and GA South – the country’s first offshore oil discovery – drilled in 2014.


ONGC has discovered gas in Oligocene Daman sands in the Saurastra region of India’s offshore Mumbai basin. This builds on two earlier finds in the block, and is close to GK-28/42 and other nearby Tertiary discoveries.

GE and L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering have agreed to collaborate on manufacturing subsea manifolds for future deepwater projects in the Krishna-Godavari basin offshore eastern India. L&T’s site in Tamil Nadu will handle fabrication.


MISC Offshore Floating Terminals has won a $230-million, 10-year lease and operations contract for Chevron’s FSO Benchamas 2 project in the Gulf of Thailand. MISC is also responsible for constructing and installing the floating storage offshore unit, which is due to start operating by 2Q 2018.


Rosneft and PetroVietnam have discovered gas/condensate at the Wild Orchid field in block 06.1 offshore southern Vietnam. Assuming a development follows, production could be routed via facilities serving the nearby Lan Tay platform, operated by the same consortium.

Canadian company Mitra Energy is acquiring a 30% interest from Teikoku Oil in a PSC for blocks 05-1b and 05-1c in the Nam Con Son basin. Both are 350 km (217 mi) offshore and include the fully appraised gas/condensate discoveries Dai Nguyet and Sao Vang, close to the Nam Con Son transportation pipeline. Mitra sees potential for a fasttrack development with the gas sold locally, partly for power generation.

Vietnamese fabricator PTSC Offshore Services has commissioned Malaysian contractor Sapura Kencana to install the living quarters platform jacket and piles for the offshore Su Tu Trang field.


CNOOC has produced first oil from the Weizhou 6-9/6-10 comprehensive adjustment project in the Beibu Gulf in the South China Sea. This involved adding a wellhead platform to facilities serving the Weizhou 6-9/6-10 oilfield, in a water depth of 35 m (115 ft). At peak in 2018, the adjustment project should lift production by 3,800 b/d.


Premier Oil has commissioned GE subsidiary PT Vetco Gray Indonesia to assist shutdown of four subsea wells at the Anoa field. GE will prepare the subsea production trees – among the first the company installed in the Asia/Pacific region in the 1990s – for removal.

Chevron has produced first gas from the Bangka field project offshore East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Production is through a subsea well connection to theWest SenoFPU, which is in turn supported by a TLP for offshore gas production.


ExxonMobil will assume operatorship from Gini Energy of two licenses in the deepwater Gulf of Papua, subject to approvals from the Papua New Guinea government. PPLs 374 and 375 are 150 km (93 mi) south of Port Moresby, in water depths of 1,000-2,500 m (3,281-8,202 ft). Indigenous company Oil Search, which is also farming into the concessions, says numerous potential multi-tcf prospects have been identified over the acreage.


Woodside Energy has agreed to acquire half of BHP Billiton’s Scarborough area interests in the Carnarvon basin offshore Western Australia for up to $400 million. These include 25% of the WA-1-R permit containing the Scarborough gas field and 50% of WA-61-R and WA-63-R, which include the Jupiter and Thebe gas fields. Combined reserves are estimated at 8.7 tcf. Woodside will operate three of the permits, with ExxonMobil remaining operator of Scarborough, currently the likeliest to go forward for development.


Origin Energy has brought onstream the Halladale/Speculant gas fields in the Otway basin offshore southeast Australia, via extended-reach wells drilled from a land base, east of Warrnambool, into the offshore reservoirs, 5 km (3.1 m) from the coast. Output from the fields will raise production at the onshore Otway Gas Plant.