Elf's Lenkoran/Talysh Deniz prospect. [26,394 bytes] Petrocorp's Block 15/Mukala off Yemen. [39,170 bytes] Elf Congo has made a new discovery in the Haute Mer license offshore Congo. The well Bilondo Marine 1, located 16 km southwest of Elf's N'Kossa field, found a hydrocarbon reservoir of good characteristics situated in the Tertiary geological formation. A production test showed a flow rate of 8,520 b/d of oil. This is the first Congo Tertiary formation discovery.

Marshall DeLuca


Elf Congo has made a new discovery in the Haute Mer license offshore Congo. The well Bilondo Marine 1, located 16 km southwest of Elf's N'Kossa field, found a hydrocarbon reservoir of good characteristics situated in the Tertiary geological formation. A production test showed a flow rate of 8,520 b/d of oil. This is the first Congo Tertiary formation discovery.

Also in the Haute Mer, Elf has reported positive results of the third well in the Moho Field. The second appraisal well, Moho Marine 3, showed a new hydrocarbon reservoir situated in the Tertiary geological formation. Tests showed a flow rate of 6,800 b/d from two levels. The well was originally targeted for the Albein formation. Drilling is continuing as a side-track well to reach this formation. Moho is located in 812 meters of water.

Elf Aquitaine Guinéa Equitorialo was awarded a 6,800-sq-km exploration area in the deepwater region southwest of Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. The exploration area is in water depths of 1,000-2,700 meters, located near a number of producing fields. The concession was part of an agreement between Elf and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

Pioneer Natural Resources has signed an exploration and production sharing agreement with Gabon for exclusive rights to explore and develop the Olowi Block. The Olowi Block is located 5 km southeast of the Gambia oil field. The contract is for three years with an option on two more years. Appraisal to determine commerciality of the block will begin shortly.


Mora Oil Ventures has successfully completed the side-track of the Mora 3 well in the Mora Block off the coast of Trinidad. The well encountered 200 ft of oil pay and has confirmed estimates of five million bbl of oil from the reservoir. The company estimates another five million bbl of reserves in other reservoirs in the field and 20 million bbl in two other prospects east of Mora. Testing for reservoir and production limits is underway.

Vastar Resources announced the results of an exploratory well on the King prospect on Mississippi Canyon 764 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The well encountered about 200 net ft of oil pay before suspension due to an engine room fire on the Ocean Victory semisubmersible. The well reached 17,580 ft and is planned for a TD of 20,855 ft. Vastar abandoning the well, while awaiting rig repairs. King is located in 3,285 ft of water about 70 miles south southwest of Venice, Louisiana.

Mantaur Petroleum of Toronto is planning to drill a well off Trinidad in July. The well will be located in the East Brighton area of the Gulf of Paria. Enron Gas & Oil Trinidad has agreed to farm-in to Mantaur's 70% interest in the area and will drill the initial exploratory well to earn a 50% interest. The companies will target the 100-600 ft thick blanket sandstone formation at the base of the Nariva formation. The Nariva formation has already produced 73 million bbl of oil from the nearby Brighton Marine Field.

Phillips Petroleum and partners Anadarko and Amoco have more than doubled production of the Mahogany prospect in the Gulf of Mexico with the addition of a fifth well. The Mahogany A-4 has increased the field's production to 19,900 b/d of oil, up from 9,200 b/d. Mahogany, discovered in 1993, is the first commercial subsalt oil development in the Gulf of Mexico.

Agip and partner Shell have signed a production sharing agreement with the government of Trinidad and Tobago for a 1,388-sq km deepwater block off Trinidad. The agreement calls for a four-year exploration period and the drilling of three wells. Agip holds a 40% interest in the block with Shell holding the remaining 60%. The block is located 80 km east of Trinidad in 1,300 meters of water.

Mariner Energy has made a deepwater natural gas discovery on the Dulcimer prospect Garden Banks 367 in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery was made in 1,120 ft of water and encountered two productive zones at 9,900 and 10,500 ft. The test well logged 150 ft of net gas pay from the two zones. Additional testing is being considered and initial production to commence in the first quarter of 1999 using a subsea tieback to a host platform. Mariner holds a 42% interest with partners Spinnaker Exploration with 33%, and Pogo with 25%.

Ecopetrol, the state oil company of Colombia, is planning to assign three large offshore exploration blocks this month. The blocks are expected to be close to the Texaco-operated Chuchupa gas prospect off the coast of northern Guajira. No interested parties have been named as of yet, but Shell, Occidental, and Amoco have expressed interest in offshore opportunities in the region.

Sharritt International of Canada has been awarded a production sharing contract, pending approval, for the Varadero Oeste II concession offshore Cuba. The concession is located adjacent to the Varadero and Perifericos fields. The concession was previously awarded to Premier Oil, but the contract has expired.

An exploratory well testing the Calgary prospect on High Island 169 in the Gulf of Mexico discovered natural gas. The well is located in 53 ft of water and reached a TD of 14,530 ft encountering more than 100 ft of net gas pay in Lower Miocene sands. Vastar is the operator of the block with a 75% working interest, with partner Union Oil-Spirit Energy 76 holding the remaining 25%.

Ocean Energy has expanded its Gulf of Mexico exploration program through an exclusive Gulf of Mexico exploration alliance with Shell Offshore. The alliance calls for 25 initial exploratory prospects to be drilled on over 141,000 gross acres across the Gulf. The alliance will delineate all the prospects by 3D seismic. The terms of the agreement call for Ocean Energy to participate for 25% of Shell's working interest in 25 prospects. The company expects the alliance will drill in excess of 50 exploratory wells over the next three years.

Basin Exploration recently drilled a discovery well on East Cameron 34 and completed a successful production test of a well on West Delta 78 in the Gulf of Mexico. The #2 well on East Cameron 34 was drilled to a TD of 10,350 ft and logged 100 ft of net gas/condensate pay in multiple Miocene sands. Production tests on the #1 well on West Delta 78 flowed at rates as high as 2,000 b/d of oil. Basin operates the East Cameron 34 block with a 60% working interest and the West Delta 78 block with a 48.25% interest.


Unocal Ganal has signed a production sharing contract with Pertamina, the state oil company of Indonesia, for the Ganal area in the Mahakam Delta, offshore East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Ganal covers approximately 1.2 million acres in water depths ranging between 2,400 ft and 6,600 ft. 2D seismic is currently underway with the first well expected in 1999. Unocal holds a 90% interest in the area and will serve as the operator.

B8/32 in the Gulf of Thailand. The Benchamas #19 exploration well was drilled to a vertical depth of 9,234 ft in a large graben system located to the west of the Benchamas. Log analysis indicated 238 ft of net oil and gas pay. The Benchamas #18 was drilled to a depth of 9,225 ft and indicated 84 ft of net oil and gas pay. The Benchamas #20 delineation well indicated 71 ft of net hydrocarbon bearing sands. The addition of these wells brings the total number of successful wells in Benchamas to 19 since drilling began in 1995.

Beach Petroleum of Australia is planning to commence full-scale exploration off the eastern coast of North Korea. Affiliates of the company, Clairmont Petroleum and a Malaysian firm, plan to complete a current survey of the 30,000 sq km area off Wonsan this month and pending results, Beach will begin exploratory drilling. The contract for the area was signed in August 1994 with a North Korean firm for a joint exploration program.

Sands Petroleum has announced that proven and estimated reserves for Block PM3 CAA in the Bunga Kekwa Field in the Gulf of Thailand have been revised upwards by 14.7%. This is the result of increased oil recovery and optimized water injection together with a revised field management plan based on production data from the current Phase 1 Bunga Kekwa development. Phase 1 of Block PM3 CAA development was completed last year, and the Bunga Kekwa Field has now produced a total of 2.5 million bbl of oil at 13,000 b/d.

Production has begun from the Seligi F platform located 165 miles off the coast of Terengganu, Malaysia. Production is expected to peak at 21,000 b/d of oil later this year from 28 wells and will flow via a new 16-in. pipeline to the existing Seligi infrastructure. Esso Production Malaysia is developing the field on behalf of a joint venture with Petronas Carigali.

Central Asia

Agip Petroleum and Socar (the state oil company of Azerbaijan) have signed a production sharing agreement for the development and exploration of three offshore fields in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. The agreement includes the Kurdashi, Araz, and Shir van Deniz Fields, which cover approximately 228 sq miles. Production is expected to begin in 2003.

Amoco has signed an agreement with the Republic of Kazakhstan to join the Caspian Pipeline Consortium. The consortium plans to build a 900-mile pipeline from the Tengiz Field offshore Kazakhstan to the Black Sea. Under the agreement, Amoco will pay Kazakhstan's 19% share of the pipeline's estimated $2 billion cost in order to earn the right to ship up to 60,000 b/d through the pipeline.

Caspian Geophysical has conducted

a major 3D seismic survey offshore Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea. The survey was shot over the Lenkoran/Talysh Deniz prospect operated by Elf Aquitaine. Interpretation of the data is expected soon. Drilling, however, will not commence until January 1999, due to lack of rig availability. The block is controlled by a consortium of Total, Deminex, Petrofina, and an Iranian oil company.


The UK Department of Trade and Industry has granted Phillips Petroleum approval for the development of the Renee (Block 15/27) and Rubie (Block 15/28b) discoveries in the North Sea. The discoveries will be developed using a subsea tieback to an existing floating production facility on the nearby Rob Roy and Ivanhoe fields. Development is slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 1999 and will be carried out in two stages. Stage 1 will include one production well on Rubie and one injection well and one production well on Renee. Stage 2 will include a second production well and an injection well on Renee and will begin approximately one year after stage 1. Production is expected at 22,000 b/d of oil and will be increased to 27,000 b/d by the fourth quarter of 1999.

Greenland's Fyla license in the Davis Strait looks promising, according to Statoil. A seismic survey was recently shot over the 9,487 sq km area and identified several interesting geological formations which could contain hydrocarbons. Maps of prospects will be ready this month with the first well scheduled for summer 1999 using the West Odin. The license lies approximately 150 km off Nuuk, Greenland, in water depths up to 1,200 meters.

A recent well test has confirmed that the Goldeneye discovery on Shell's UK 14/29a Block extends into the neighboring Block 20/4b. Block 20/4b is controlled 40% by Amerada Hess and 15% by Statoil. A total of three wells have been drilled in the area and the companies are exchanging data on the wells in order to find the most effective solution for developing the find.

Middle East

Chevron has signed an exploration agreement with the State of Bahrain for three offshore blocks. Blocks 1, 2, and 3 cover approximately 2,280 sq miles and are expected to hold a number of commercial oil prospects. 2D and 3D seismic surveys are due to begin this year, with the first well expected in 2000. Chevron will hold 100% interest and serve as the operator for the blocks.

Petrocorp has been awarded a production sharing contract for Block 15/Mukalla in the Gulf of Aden Masila Basin offshore Yemen. Under the agreement with the government of Yemen, the company will perform a 2D survey and drill a minimum of three exploratory wells in the next three years at an initial investment of $12 million. Agip previously held the concession but found no commercial quantities of reserves.

Copyright 1998 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.

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