Global E&P Briefs

Sonangol and operator Elf have added to their portfolio of deepwater discoveries with a new find offshore Angola.


Sonangol and operator Elf have added to their portfolio of deepwater discoveries with a new find offshore Angola. The discovery called Orquidea follows Girassol, Dalia, Rosa, Lirio, and Tulipa as the sixth discovery in Block 17. The well Orquidea-1 was drilled in 1,197 meters water depth and is being evaluated to determine the size of the field. Partners in the block include Elf (35%), Esso (20%), BP Amoco (16.67%), Statoil (13.33%), Norsk Hydro (10%), and TotalFina (5%).

Esso has also made a deepwater discovery off Angola in its Block 15. Like Elf, this find marks the sixth in the block. This latest find, named Xicomba, was drilled in 4,445 ft water depths. The oil-bearing reservoir flowed at a test rate of 1,435 b/d of oil. Xicomba joins the Hungo, Kissanje, Marimba, and Dikanza discoveries made in 1998 and the Chocalho discovery made in June of this year and brings estimated reserves for the block to 1.2-1.8 billion bbl. Esso holds a 40% interest in the block with partners BP Amoco (26.67%), Agip (20%), and Statoil (13.33%).

Apache has sold its interest in its subsidiary, Apache Côte d'Ivoire, including the 24% working interest in the Foxtrot Field to a consortium consisting of Mondoil Côte d'Ivoire and Saue Energie Côte d'Ivoire for $45 million. Apache will continue to provide technical services to the Foxtrot project through interest held in Mondoil. Sauer already holds a 24% interest in Foxtrot with partners state-owned Petroci (40%) and ENERCI of France (12%).

Chevron has announced plans to deliver first deepwater oil offshore Angola by year-end. The company has announced that first export cargo from its Kuito Field in Block 14 will be delivered in December or January. The field is expected onstream in the fourth quarter producing 50,000 b/d of oil to an FPSO currently under construction. Production is then expected to increase to 100,000 b/d by the end of the first quarter of 2000.

The joint venture agreement for the $400 million West African Gas Pipeline has been signed. Proposed project leader Chevron and partners Shell, and the state oil companies of Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, and Togo signed the agreement. In addition, a side agreement concerning resolution of outstanding issues was signed, granting project go-ahead. The pipeline will deliver gas from Nigeria to neighboring Benin, Togo, and Ghana. Completion is expected in 2002.


The first concession contract from Costa Rica's first bidding round (held in 1997) has been signed. MKJ Xploration has signed an agreement for the exploration and pro duction of four blocks covering 5,634 sq km on Costa Rica's Caribbean zone. Two of the blocks are located inland and two on the marine zone. Operations are expected to begin before the end of the year with a 100 sq km 3D seismic survey in the marine area over the Moin High structure. The country has also held a second bidding round which ended on September 30th.

Marathon has made a deepwater discovery on its Camden Hills prospect in Mississippi Canyon Block 348 in the Gulf of Mexico. The #1 well was drilled in 7,200 ft of water to a total depth of 15,048 ft and encountered over 200 ft of gas pay. The company plans further appraisal drilling later this year. Marathon holds 50.03% interest in the block with WI holding 33.3% and Total holding 16.67%.

Guyana has granted CGX Energy approval for its 1999-2000 work program offshore. The program will include the original commitment to process and interpret its new seismic data and drill two exploration wells on its concession. The company shot an 1,800 km seismic program in May over four targets in the region - Horseshoe East, Horseshoe West, Eagle, and Wishbone. The company is currently in advanced discussions with a group called the Guyana Offshore Exploration Syndicate for earning interests and farming-in the acreage.

Elf has announced its second deepwater Gulf of Mexico discovery this year. The company found 370 gross ft of oil reservoirs in two zones on its Matterhorn prospect in Mississippi Canyon Block 243 in 2,835 ft water depth. The well was drilled to a depth of 8,165 ft and flowed at a rate of 6,640 b/d of oil. The Matterhorn discovery follows the Anconcagua discovery made in Mississippi Canyon Block 305 in March.

Vastar has discovered oil on its Horn Mountain prospect in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The discovery well on Mississippi Canyon Block 127 in 5,400 ft water depth encountered 285 ft of net pay in two primary and two secondary intervals. The well was drilled to a total depth of 14,677 ft and was sidetracked downdip to confirm the pay intervals and a hydrocarbon column of at least 500 ft. This is Vastar's third discovery of four operated wells in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico since 1997.

Chieftain International has notched an oil and gas discovery on High Island Blocks A-510/A-531 in the Gulf of Mexico. The well was drilled to 11,107 ft and found more than 260 net ft of hydrocarbon-bearing pay in multiple zones. Chieftain is the operator of the well and holds a 50% interest, with partner Tana holding the remaining 50%.

Burlington Resources has entered into an agreement with Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname, the state oil company of Suriname, for a production sharing agreement off the country's shores. According to the agreement, Burlington will acquire several thousand km of seismic data over an 18,500-sq-mile offshore block. For the agreement, Burlington will own a 35% interest and has partnered with Shell (35%), TotalFina (15%), and Korea National Oil (15%).

Repsol-YPF of Spain has made two oil and gas discoveres offshore Argentina. The company with partner Sipetrol Argentina, the international division of Chile's state-owned Enap, made the discoveries in the CAM 2/A South concession near the Magellan Straits. The first well, CAM XE-1, was drilled to a depth of 1,725 meters and flowed 15 MMcf/d of gas and 151 b/d of condensate. The second well, CAM XE-1 A, flowed 2,000 b/d of oil and 620.5 Mcf/d of gas. Repsol-YPF and Sipetrol each hold 50% in the block.

Pemex recently proved Mexico holds more offshore reserves than just the huge Cantarell Field. The company recently announced a find of over 1.4 billion bbl in the Bay of Campeche. The new field called Sihil was discovered at a total depth of 12,000 ft and is what Pemex believes to be one of four undiscovered fields in the bay with over one billion bbl of recoverable oil.


India's Oil Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has made the first deepwater discovery offshore India. The well G-1AA was drilled to a total depth of 8,256 ft in the Krishna-Godavari basin in the Bay of Bengal and flowed 3,600 b/d of oil and 1.4 MMcf/d of gas. This is also the first discovery off the eastern coast of the country. Delineation work and testing is currently in progress.

Woodside expects the Legendre oil field offshore Australia to begin production in 2001. The company announced that the field initially will produce 40,000 b/d of oil from its proven reserves of 19.7 million bbl and estimated reserves of 40.4 million bbl. The company said it expects its joint venture partners, Apache (31.5%), Santos (22.56%), and Shell (19%), to approve the project shortly. The A$110 project will include four production wells and a gas re-injection well with oil produced to an FPSO. Woodside holds a 26.94% interest in Legendre.

Unocal has commenced production from the Pailin Field in the Gulf of Thailand. As part of the initial phase of production, the field will reach 165 MMcf/d of gas in the fourth quarter. The second phase is expected to come onstream in mid-2003 and would increase production by an additional 165 MMcf/d of gas. When fully developed, the field will comprise 30 wellhead platforms and two central processing platforms and represents the company's most complex single project in Thailand. Gross proved reserves for the field are estimated at 2 Tcf of gas.

TGS-NOPEC, Geco-Prakla, Migas, and Pertamina have commenced a new non-exclusive 2D program located in the Misool Island region of East Indonesia. The survey will cover 3,000 km and image the Mesozoic section between the island and the deepwater Seram Trough. The survey follows a 6,500 km survey shot by TGS-NOPEC in 1998 in the area.

Conoco has made a new discovery on Block B in the West Natuna Sea offshore Indonesia. The company drilled a well in the area that encountered three new pay zones in the Gabus formation that tested at a combined rate of 5,375 b/d of condensate and 21 MMcf/d of gas. Conoco has said that the reserves from the new discovery are not included in the West Natuna Sea contract area, which entitles the company to a long-term gas supply to Singapore from Indonesia beginning in 2001.


Enterprise announced a second successful appraisal on the Corrib Field on Block 18/25 in the Slyne Trough. The company and partners Saga, Statoil, and Marathon drilled the 18/25-1 in 350 meters water depth and achieved rates of 64 MMcf/d of gas. The Corrib discovery was made in late 1996 and previously had one successful appraisal well, 18/20-2z, drilled in 1998.

Clyde Petroleum encountered a gas discovery on the Q4 Block offshore the Netherlands. The Q4-9 exploration well tested 26 and 28 MMcf/d of gas from two separate zones in the Triassic. The discovery is located 6 km northwest of the Q4-8 discovery well drilled in 1998 that tested 27 MMcf/d of gas. Clyde owns 49.75% of the block with its partners Dyas (17.25%) and Clam Petroleum (a 50-50 joint venture between Marathon and Burlington Resources) (33%).

Mobil's Buckland Field in the Northern North Sea has begun production at 16,000 b/d of oil and is expected to increase to 30,000 b/d. Buckland is located in Block 9/18 and is producing via a subsea tieback to the Beryl Alpha platform 10.5 km away in Block 9/13. A total of 40 MMcf/d of Gas from Buckland will be commingled with gas from Beryl and exported to St. Fergus through Mobil's SAGE pipeline. Mobil operates the field with 35%. Partners include Repsol (33.3%), Enterprise (14.4%), Amerada Hess (14.1%), and OMV (3.2%).

Elf drilled a gas discovery on Block L4a in the Netherlands sector of the North Sea. The well encountered hydrocarbons in the Rotliegende play at a depth of 4,036 meters and tested at 895,000 cm/d of gas. Studies are being carried out to optimize development of the discovery. Elf holds 37.11% with partners Energie Beheer Nederland (40%), Total (18.55%), and Coparex (4.34%).

Middle East

Isramco is pushing for the drilling of a gas well on the Med Yvane Marine license offshore Israel. Following the results of seismic survey, the company has identified a structure and is asking partners for approval to drill the Or-1 well in 6,500 ft of water following the Yam West-2 well currently being drilled, which has yet to encounter hydrocarbons. Isramco's partners include Delek Drilling, Naphtha Exploration, Jerusalem Oil Exploration, and Equital.

BG and Edison have reached a gas sales agreement with Egyptian General Petroleum for the Scarab/Saffron Field in the West Delta Deep Marine concession in the Nile Delta offshore Egypt. This agreement gives the companies the approval for the largest gas development in the country and the first to use deepwater technology in Egypt. The field is located in 700 meters of water and has estimated reserves in excess of 4 tcf of gas. First gas is expected in January and will supply 530 MMcf/d of gas over a period of at least 17 years.

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