Total and Petrobras have been granted rights to Nigeria's deepwater OPL 246 concession. Under the terms of the agreement, both companies will hold 40% interests, with Total serving as operator during the exploratory phase and any future developments. The companies also have committed to a program that includes 3D seismic to be shot later this year and the first well to be drilling in 1999. The concession is located in water depths averaging 5,000 ft. Pioneer Natural Resources has been


Total and Petrobras have been granted rights to Nigeria's deepwater OPL 246 concession. Under the terms of the agreement, both companies will hold 40% interests, with Total serving as operator during the exploratory phase and any future developments. The companies also have committed to a program that includes 3D seismic to be shot later this year and the first well to be drilling in 1999. The concession is located in water depths averaging 5,000 ft.

Pioneer Natural Resources has been granted approval from the Republic of South Africa for a petroleum exploration and production agreement covering about 3.5 million acres in Block 9 in the Bredasdorp Basin off the southern coast of the country. Pioneer will join Soekor, the South Africa state oil company, in exploration and production activities in the block which already holds commercial oil production from the Oribi Field and gas production from the F-A Field. Pioneer will hold a 49% working interest and operatorship of two sub-blocks covering three million acres, that include the southern and western portions of Block 9.

The first well under the agreement was recently tested by SOEKOR and encountered a gross pay interval of 92 ft at a depth of 8,547 ft, which tested at a rate of 5,980 b/d of 40° API oil and 3.6 MMcf/d of gas. A second exploration and test well is currently being evaluated.

Soekor has also signed an agreement with Anschutz for exploration of Block 2 off South Africa in hopes of finding gas. The agreement calls for Anschutz to invest at least $100 million and drill a minimum of eight wells on the block in eight years. The company will also re-examine 3,500 km of old 2D data and conduct new 2D and 3D surveys. No reserves estimates have been released.


US President Bill Clinton has extended a moratorium on offshore oil and gas development by 10 years. Under the authority of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, all of the US coasts off California, Washington, Oregon, southwest Florida, New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and southern Alaska will be protected from drilling. The current ban, which expires in 2002, is now extended to 2012. The central and western Gulf of Mexico, however, will not be affected.

Operator EEX, and partners PanCanadian Petroleum, Enterprise Oil, and Mobil have made a deepwater discovery in Garden Banks Block 386 in the Gulf of Mexico. The Llano discovery well, located in 2,700 ft water depths, was drilled to a record depth of 27,864 ft, making it the deepest well drilled in the Gulf of Mexico. The well encountered 200 ft of hydrocarbon-bearing sands which also establishes Llano as the deepest hydrocarbons discovered in the Gulf of Mexico. The sands are reportedly equivalent to those found at Shell's Auger Field 16 km southwest of Llano. The well is currently undergoing final evaluation before casing. An appraisal well is planned for later this year.

Production has begun from the first subsalt well in the Enchilada Field in the Gulf of Mexico. The well, Chimichanga, is located on Garden Banks 127 in 630 ft water depths and tested at an initial rate of 20 MMcf/d of gas and 2,100 b/d of oil. Production will be processed at the Enchilada "A" platform as will future production from wells planned from the recently installed Salsa "B" platform. Peak production from the two platforms on the field is expected to be 10,000 b/d of condensate and 200 MMcf/d of gas. The Enchilada Field includes Garden Banks 83, 84, 127, 128, and 172 and is jointly-owned by Shell Offshore, Amerada Hess, and Pennzoil E & P.

Pennzoil Venezuela has begun operating the B2X-68/79 and B2X-70/80 oil pro duction blocks in eastern Lake Maracaibo as of July 1. The two blocks cover 10,000 acres each, with reserves estimated at 100-200 million bbl of oil. PDVSA recently signed over rights to Pennzoil to operate the two blocks that Pennzoil and its partners acquired in the country's Third Operating Agreement Round last year. A contract has been signed with Maersk to build and operate two barge mounted drilling rigs for the development drilling. Delivery of the rigs is scheduled for November and December.


ARCO and China National Offshore Oil(CNOOC) have expanded an agreement for development of the Ledong gas field in the South China Sea. The agreement, which was signed in October of last year, was amended to include structures in the nearby Wenchang area. The Ledong/Wenchang prospects will be combined with ARCO's Yacheng 13-1 gas field to increase the likelihood of a commercially viable project. The Wenchang area has three geological structures, two of which have been determined to hold gas.

Cairn Energy has begun transmission of gas from the Sangu Field in the Bay of Bengal to Bangladesh's national grid. The Sangu Field, located 30 miles offshore, is linked to an onshore terminal via a 29 mile pipeline. A flow of 60 MMcf/d of gas is being supplied from two of the four wells in the field during the trial period and will be increased gradually to 160 MMcf/d of gas. The field holds estimated reserves of 848 bcf.

Petronas and PetroVietnam have signed a Pre-Unitization Agreement covering the eastern flank of the Kekwa oil and gas accumulation on Block PM-3 in the Commercial Arrangement Area between Malaysia and Vietnam and its extension into Vietnam's Block 46. This agreement will allow the relevant parties to work on the potential unitization of the eastern flank of the Kekwa Field. The field is owned by Petronas (46.06%), operator Lundin Oil (41.4%), and PetroVietnam (12.5%).

Central Asia

Turkmenistan has awarded Mobil the right to develop the contested Serdar Field. The Serdar Field has been claimed by both Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan who calls the field Kyapaz. Azerbaijan awarded Lukoil and Rosneft rights to develop the field for $1 billion in July of last year, which was later annulled by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Officials at the Ministry for oil, gas, and mineral resources have upheld the award to Mobil as being in accordance with the presidential order. The Serdar deposit is estimated to hold about 50 million tons of recoverable crude reserves.

Turkmenistan has also awarded a second, larger concession to an international consortium of Cairn Energy and Texuna. The Gaplan deposit is estimated at holding 90 million tons of oil and covers an area of 1,600 sq km. Production sharing agreements are expected to be signed within three months. Both new deals are expected to generate about $4.5 million to the state.

Elf Petroleum Azerbaijan, Mobil, Agip, operators of the Lenkoran/Talish-Deniz, Oguz, and Kurdashi prospects in the Caspian Sea, respectively, and Socar - the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, have signed an agreement for the creation of a second rig club for offshore drillers. The rig club plans to build a drilling platform for use on shallow water prospects in the Caspian. The rig will be built at Socar's facilities in Baku by the Caspian Shipyard Company, a joint venture held by Socar, FELS, and Lukoil.


Burlington Resources has executed a statement of intent with Hydrocarbon Resources Limited to transport and process natural gas from the Millom and Dalton Fields in the East Irish Sea. Development plans for the Dalton Field are currently underway with initial production planned for the fourth quarter of 1999, pending approval by the UK Secretary of Trade and Industry. Development of the Millom Field will follow with first production slated for year-end 2000. The fields were two of seven undeveloped gas fields acquired by the company from BG Exploration in December.

Marathon Petroleum Denmark has been awarded an 80% interest in Block 3/98 in the Danish North Sea as part of Denmark's fifth round of licensing. The block was one of 17 offered in the round. Dansk-Olie og Gas Production holds the remaining 20% of the 216 sq-km block. Marathon also received interest in Block 1/98 and 2/98 which were awarded 80% to 50% Marathon-owned Clam Petroleum, and 20% to Dansk-Olie og.

Gulf Canada Resources has confirmed a natural gas discovery on the Q-4 Block in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. The Q4-8 discovery well tested 27 MMcf/d of gas. A production license application will be submitted later this year with production beginning by year-end 1999. Gulf Canada holds a 49.75% interest in the block with partners Dyas (17.25%), and Clam Petroleum (33%).

Phillips Petroleum, Statoil, Dopas (Danish state oil company, and Nunaoil(Dano-Greenland state oil company) have been offered the Sisimiut exploration license offshore Greenland. The companies are partners in another license, Fylla, 300 km south of Sisimiut. Seismic surveys on the area have identified interesting geological structures which may contain hydrocarbons with more seismic planned. The license covers about 4,800 sq km and is located near the Greenland-Canada boundary in the Davis Strait.

Middle East

Iran has launched its largest energy tender campaign since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran has released details on $5 billion of new oil and gas projects which include more than 40 ventures offshore and onshore for development and exploration. The new tender is part of the country's plan to boost offshore oil output to more than one million b/d of oil and offshore gas output to 9 bcf/d of gas by the early years of the next century. Iran said the projects would help raise oil output capacity to 7 million b/d by 2020. Initial submissions on the projects will be made in Tehran this month.

Copyright 1998 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.

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