Elf's Virgo Field - Viosca Knoll 823. The Åsgard Field in the North Sea. [14,568 bytes] Shell has begun development planning for the deepwater Bonga Field off Nigeria. The third well of the program, Bonga-1X, reportedly flowed at 4,000 b/d of oil. Reserves are estimated at 500 million bbl. Bonga is located in 1,000 m water depth in the OPL 212 license area. Shell plans to use a floating production system for development.


Marshall DeLuca
Elf's Virgo Field - Viosca Knoll 823.


Shell has begun development planning for the deepwater Bonga Field off Nigeria. The third well of the program, Bonga-1X, reportedly flowed at 4,000 b/d of oil. Reserves are estimated at 500 million bbl. Bonga is located in 1,000 m water depth in the OPL 212 license area. Shell plans to use a floating production system for development.

The government of Angola has awarded United Meridian (UMC) a 20% interest in the 1.2 million-acre deepwater Block 19. Block 19 is located 30 miles south of the prolific Block 17, which holds estimated reserves in excess of 3 billion bbl of oil. UMC will share the block with Sonangol, the state oil company of Angola, (20%), Ranger Oil (25%), operator Petrofina (30%), and an Israeli company.

Benton Oil and Gas has signed an agreement with Petrosen, the state oil company of Senegal, for offshore oil and gas exploration rights. Under the agreement, Benton will make geophysical and geological studies of the country's offshore areas to locate oil and gas for development. The agreement also called for the development of the onshore gas field, Gadiaga.

Pioneer Natural Resources has signed a technical cooperation agreement with South Africa for five offshore blocks. The agreement gives Pioneer exclusive rights to study and negotiate a contract on blocks 10, 11A, 12A, 13B, and 14B. The blocks cover five million acres in water depths of less than 650 ft.

Abacan has announced production results from the Ima No. 9 well in the Ima Field in Niger Delta, offshore Nigeria. The well flowed 2,335 b/d of 57° API oil and condensate from a single zone. The well was drilled to TD of 11,400 ft and using a 1-in. choke. Abacan has tied the well into the Ima production facility and has begun production testing.


A consortium of Mobil Oil Canada, Chevron Canada Resources, Petro-Canada, and Norsk Hydro has been awarded a drilling contract for an appraisal well on the Hebron-Ben Nevis Field on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The contract is for the Hebron D-94 well and other possible wells to be drilled in July. This is part of the consortium's plan to develop the Grand Banks. The field is located 30 km southeast of Hibernia.

Elf Exploration has announced the development of its Virgo discovery on Viosca Knoll 823 in the Gulf of Mexico. The Viosca Knoll 823-2 discovery well, drilled in March of last year, encountered 376 ft of hydrocarbon-bearing sands and was later confirmed with an appraisal well (Viosca Knoll 823-3), which encountered a 32 ft thick reservoir. Approval has been given for the construction of a conventional four-leg, 14-slot drilling and production platform to be delivered in the third quarter of 1999.

Amerada Hess and partners Shell Offshore and Oryx have participated in a successful appraisal well on the Conger prospect on Garden Banks 215, in the Gulf of Mexico. Well #5 encountered approximately 300 ft of net pay in 1,500 ft water depths. The well has been suspended while a new rig is secured for further drilling. The companies plan to develop the field with either a subsea tieback to a host facility or a stand-alone facility.

Coastal has completed six development wells in West Cameron 598 in the Gulf of Mexico. The six wells are currently producing 52 MMcf/d of gas and 7,800 b/d of oil. A seventh and eighth well should be completed this month. The wells have encountered 236-723 net ft of pay in multiple reservoirs. The wells are being drilled from a 12-slot, four-pile platform in 160 ft of water.

Stone Energy has acquired a 37.5% working interest in the Gulf of Mexico East Cameron 64 Field from Conoco for $12.5 million. The acquisition includes interests in two production platforms, four satellite structures, and 18 wells. The field is currently producing 270 b/d of oil and 10.5 MMcf/d of gas from three wells.

A consortium of Arco, Chevron, Phillips, and Statoil are planning to invest $400 million as part of a planned expansion of the LL652 Field located in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. The field currently produces approximately 10,000 b/d of oil, and, under the expansion, will be increased to 115,000 b/d of oil over the next decade. Reserves for the field are estimated at more than 500 million bbl. The plan is currently awaiting final approval by PDVSA, the state oil company of Venezuela.


Unocal Indonesia has completed a significant oil test in Miocene sands in the deepwater Merah Besar area of the Mahakam Delta, offshore East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The Merah Besar #5 well is located 1.8 miles west of the earlier Merah Besar #6 discovery in 1,664 ft water depths. The well was drilled to a TD of 11,120 ft and tested at a rate of 9,430 b/d of oil and 7.4 MMcf/d of gas on a 1-1/8-in. choke from a single zone. Additional oil and gas-bearing zones were encountered, but not tested.

BHP plans to have the vessel Griffin Venture back on location on the Griffin Field off northwest Australia by mid-month, following necessary repairs caused by a fire in November. The vessel is currently in drydock awaiting repairs to each of the vessel's five turbines. The 60,000 b/d Griffin facility is expected to return to production until a later date. The Griffin Field is located 43 miles northwest of the town of Onslow.

Indo-Pacific Energy has acquired a 5% working interest from Boral Energy in permit area WA-199-P in the Australian sector of the Timor Sea. The permit is approximately 671,000 acres and is located between the Sahul Syncline and Vulcan Graben discoveries. An exploration well, Kittiwake-1, is currently being drilled on the permit.

Pertamina, the state oil company of Indonesia, is seeking more foreign investment. Eight new areas have been offered for "direct negotiation" production sharing contracts. These areas include two off South Sulawesi and one off Irian Jaya. An additional nine areas, including four off Irian Jaya, are open for tender. Negotiations have been concluded for three areas off East Kalimantan for production sharing contracts and the remainder are expected to be concluded soon.

Primeline Energy has announced the evaluation results of the Vicky-1 well in Block 32-32 in the East China Sea. Based on the analysis of testing data, recoverable reserves are estimated at 660 Bcf of gas. Post-drilling evaluation has identified a potential 4 Tcf of gas in traps within a 20 km radius of the discovery. The discovery was initially made in October 1997 and proves a hydrocarbon system in the Lishui Sub-basin.

Central Asia

Kazakhstankaspiishelf, the Kazakhstan offshore petroleum joint venture, has released plans to bring Caspian Sea reserves into production in the year 2003. The government has set production goals at 100,000 b/d of oil by 2003 or 2004, and increasing that by 1-1.2 million b/d by 2013. A group of US companies, including Mobil and Chevron, is producing from the country's Tengiz Field. Peak production for that field is estimated at 700,000 b/d of oil.

Enterprise Oil has decided against drilling in Block 6 off Bulgaria after the government rejected some of company's requests for legal changes. Enterprise asked that the government drop state participation in the project and attract a new Western investor as well lowering the license fees and extending the exploration period. Current legislation maintains that the state owns 50% of the concession with no investment, and the foreign company assumes 100% of the risk.

SOCAR, the state oil company of Azerbaijan, and a consortium of four Japanese firms, are planning to sign a production sharing agreement for acreage in the Caspian Sea. The consortium, consisting of Itochu Oil Exploration, Indonesia Petroleum, Japan Petroleum Exploration, and Teikoku Oil, signed a memorandum of understanding with SOCAR last March to carry out exploration activities in the Atashgah, Yanan-Tava, and Mugandeniz Fields in the south Caspian. Reserves for the fields are estimated at 650 million bbl of oil.

ARCO has signed an agreement with the former Soviet republic of Georgia to develop deepwater oil and gas fields in the country's sector of the Black Sea. The fields are located off the coast of Batumi and Poti and cover approximately 9,000 sq km. Reserves are estimated at 200 million tons of oil. Under the agreement, ARCO will finance 100% of the investment in the project.


Statoil has announced plans for the Åsgard Field in the Norwegian Sea: Completion work on 13 of 59 drilled wells in the field is due to begin this month. Smørbukk South, one of three components in the development has tested better than expected from a horizontal well. The well flowed approximately 15,700 b/d of oil and production estimates are 30,000-37,000 b/d. A 63-km gas pipeline is being planned from Norske Shell's Draugen Field to a T junction on the Åsgard Transport gas line. Three more T-junctions are planned for installation along the Åsgard gas line this year.

Seventeen companies, including Agip, Marathon, Saga, and Shell, have submitted 19 applications to the Danish Energy Agency under the fifth licensing round in the Danish North Sea. The licensing round includes previously unallocated acreage in the Central Graben and adjacent areas at the western edge of the Danish sector. The Government plans to award the licenses this summer.

Kerr-McGee has been given approval from the United Kingdom Department of Trade and Industry for the development of the Janice Field in the North Sea. Production is expected to commence by the third quarter. Reserves are estimated at 70 million bbl of oil with peak production expected at 55,000 b/d. Kerr-McGee holds a 50.9% interest in the block with partners Phillips (24.4%), Agip (18.2%), and Svenska (6.5%).

The second exploration well being drilled by Statoil in Block 6204/11 off Stad in mid-Norway has been plugged and abandoned as a dry well. The first well in the area, drilled in 1994, encountered minor quantities of oil and gas. Other licensees in the block include Phillips, Enterprise, Neste, and Saga.

Phillips Petroleum and Shell UK have announced an oil and gas discovery in the British sector of the North Sea. The discovery well, 22/23B-5, tested at a combined rate of 11,500 b/d of oil and 22 MMcf/d of gas from two zones. The well is located 210 km east of Aberdeen in 96 meters of water and straddles the boundary if Block 22/23B owned by Shell and Esso, and the Phillips/British Gas/Agip-owned Block 22/28B. An appraisal program for the discovery is being planned.

Norsk Hydro has plugged and abandoned a small gas/condensate discovery southwest of the Oseberg development in the North Sea. The exploration well, 30/8-3, was drilled to a TD of 3,698 meters, but showed poor reservoir characteristics. The well was not tested.

Copyright 1998 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.

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