July 1, 1999
Once again Angola has claimed another discovery. BP Amoco and Sonangol have announced the Platina-1 discovery in the deepwater Block 18 offshore Angola. Production capacity for the field has been estimated at 6,500 b/d of oil. This discovery marks BP Amoco's first discovery off Angola and the first discovery in the block.

Once again Angola has claimed another discovery. BP Amoco and Sonangol have announced the Platina-1 discovery in the deepwater Block 18 offshore Angola. Production capacity for the field has been estimated at 6,500 b/d of oil. This discovery marks BP Amoco's first discovery off Angola and the first discovery in the block.

Côte d'Ivoire has inaugurated the Foxtrot gas field on Block CI-27. Operator Apache is developing the field and partner state-owned Petroci. Foxtrot has recoverable reserves of 650 bcm of gas out of total reserves of 1,000 bcm. The gas from Foxtrot will be added to production from the Lion and Panther fields to supply natural gas to neighboring Ghana beginning next year.

Elf has declared the Dalia Field commercial. The company expects to begin production from the 1 billion-bbl field (estimated) in 2003. Elf operates the field with a 35% interest along with partners Exxon (20%), BP Amoco (16.7%), Statoil (13.3%), Norsk Hydro (10%), and Fina (5%).

Approval for the West African Gas Pipeline, which will deliver gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo, and Ghana, has been granted. The 640-mile pipeline is estimated to cost $430 million and will be financed by a consortium of Chevron, Ghana National Petroleum, Nigeria Gas, Shell, Sobegaz of Benin, and Sotegaz of Togo. Completion is scheduled for July 2002.

While it does not differ much from previous reports, Sonangol has finally made official the awards of the production sharing agreements on its three ultra-deepwater blocks: 31, 32, and 33. The blocks cover over 1.2 million acres each and range in water depths from 5,000 ft to 8,000 ft. Interest owners include:

  • Block 31: BP Amoco - 26.7% (operator); Esso - 25%; Sonangol - 20%; Statoil - 13.3%; Marathon - 10%; and Elf - 5%.
  • Block 32: Elf - 30% (operator); Sonangol - 20%; Prodev International - 20%; Esso - 15%; Marathon - 10%; and Petrogal - 5%.
  • Block 33: Esso - 45% (operator); Sonangol - 20%; Elf - 15%; Falcon Oil Holding - 10%; Petrogal - 5%; and NIR Angola Block 33 - 5%.


Operator BHP and partner Elf have made a gas discovery on Block 2C offshore Trinidad. The Angostura-1 well was drilled in 40 meters of water and flowed 30 MMcf/d of gas. Appraisal studies are planned to evaluate the size of the discovery.

Petrobras has agreed to return 28 of its 115 oil and gas development areas to the National Petroleum Agency (ANP), the governing of Brazil's energy industry. The ANP in exchange granted Petrobras an extension of 3-5 years for exploration on 34 of the company's remaining 87 prospects. Fifteen of the blocks returned to the ANP are offshore, with the remaining 13 onshore. The ANP has said that the relinquished acreage, with the exception of a possible three of four onshore properties, will not be placed on offer this year.

Chevron is planning to increase pro duction on its LL652 marginal field in Lake Maracaibo by 100,000 b/d of oil in three years. The company plans to add an additional $250 million to the $350 million already invested in the field and put water and gas injection onstream this year. The field currently produces 10,000 b/d of oil and is expected to be increased to 110,000 to 120,000 b/d.

Costa Rica has opened the Second Hydrocarbon Bidding Round with 22 blocks on offer. The country has opened eight offshore and 14 onshore blocks for bidding until Sept. 30. The contract schemes for the blocks are based on concession contracts with a primary exploration program of three years and up to three possible one-year extensions, and an exploitation period of 20 years.


State-owned Korea Oil has discovered a natural gas field 37 miles off the coast of Ulsan, South Korea. The company has completed two tests and determined reserves to be 160-200 Bcf of gas. Facilities are expected to be installed and production to begin before 2002.

The Cornea joint venture partners, Chevron, Shell, and Cultus, have submitted an application to the government of Western Australia to relinquish the WA-265-P and WA-266-P exploration permits. The application is currently being reviewed by the Commonwealth Government and the government of Western Australia for approval.

Soco International has signed an agreement with PetroVietnam, the state oil company of Vietnam, for the exploration, development, and production of Block 16-1 offshore Vietnam in the South China Sea. Under the agreement Soco will hold a 30% stake in the block with PetroVietnam holding 41% and indigenous companies holding the remaining interest.

Central Asia

Elf has announced plans to begin drilling on the Lenkoran/Talysh-Deniz structure offshore Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea later this year. The company, on behalf of a consortium comprising Total, Deminex, OIEC, Petrofina, and SOCAR, shot seismic over the structures last year and estimates reserves at 733-806 million bbl of oil. The group will use Sedco Forex's Trident 20 jackup currently under construction in Singapore.

Turkey and Turkmenistan have signed an agreement for a 2,000-km Turkmen natural gas pipeline to run from Turk menistan through the Caspian Sea and deliver gas to Turkey and Europe. The pipeline will begin in the city of Turkmenbasi and connect with a 300-km line in Baku, Azerbaijan which runs under the Caspian, and connect to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and run to Turkey where the gas will be distributed. The pipeline is expected to be completed in 2002 and will be able to carry 30 bcm of gas/year. However, the approval of Azerbaijan and Georgia is still needed before construction can begin.


Saga has begun drilling the deepest well ever on the Norwegian Continental Shelf in a water depth of 1,350 meters. The Gjallarryggen well was spudded by Saipem's Scarabeo 5 DP semisubmersible. The well is part of a 75-day drilling program and has a planned total depth of 2,550 meters.

Statoil has made a discovery on the Sara prospect offshore Norway on license PL159 just north of the 1998-discovered Skarv Field. The well 6507/3-3 was drilled to a total depth of 3,800 meters in 392 meters of water and encountered gas, thus confirmed the hydrocarbon potential of the Skarv area. Two sidetracks were also drilled to explore the downflank potential. An appraisal well is expected to begin drilling this month. Statoil operates the well with a 30% interest with partners Enterprise (40%), SDFI (20%), and Saga (10%).

Enterprise has received governmental approval from the UK Department of Trade and Industry for the development of the Cook Field in the UK sector of the North Sea. First oil is expected in the second half of next year. Production should rise to 10,000 b/d of oil, peaking at 20,000 b/d by 2001. Cook is located in Block 21/20A and is planned to be developed using two subsea wells tied through a single eight-in. pipe to Shell Expro's Anasuria FPSO. Enterprise is the operator of the field with 25.8%, along with Shell (25.8%), Exxon (25.8%), British-Borneo, and Amerada Hess.

Production has begun from the world's largest subsea development - the Åsgard Field in the Norwegian Sea. Oil is now being produced to the Åsgard A, the world's largest FPSO. The first well was brought onstream May 19 and production will be gradually increased to the 200,000 b/d of oil design capacity. The second phase of the development, which will include the production of gas and condensate from the field, is expected to begin in October of next year. The field will produce to the Åsgard B platform, the world's largest floating gas platform currently under construction in Norway. Gas processing capacity for the platform in 1.3 Bcf/d.

Middle East

Yemen is planning to offer seven offshore blocks for exploration later this year. The country plans to offer blocks 25, 26, and 28 in the Red Sea, blocks 6, 7, and 28 in the central Shabwah governorate, and Block 38 on Soqatra Island. The government is organizing a promotional conference that will open in London in September and later move to Houston.