Aug. 1, 1999
Elf has made another discovery on Block 17 offshore Angola.

Elf has made another discovery on Block 17 offshore Angola. The Tulipa -1 well was drilled in 3,300 ft water depths and flowed 7,000 b/d of oil. The discovery is the fifth one on the same block that includes Girassol, Dalia, Rosa, and Lirio. Geological and engineering studies are underway to assess the discovery. Elf hods a 35% interest with partners Esso (20%), BP Amoco (16.67%), Den Norske Stats Oljeselskap (13.33%), Norsk Hydro (10%), and Fina (5%). Sonangol is the concessionaire of the block.

Vanco Energy contracted Western Geo physical to conduct a 2D seismic survey of Block CI-112 offshore Côte d'Ivoire. The block is one of two deepwater blocks that were awarded to Vanco in April. Block CI-112 covers about 5,000 sq km and lies in water depths ranging from 100 meters down to 3,000 meters. The survey, which should be completed this month, will create a grid of the block. Western Geophysical is using the M/V Jeff Chouest for the survey.

Global Industries completed a turnkey contract for Chevron's Cabinda Gulf Oil Company for the procurement, transportation, installation, and precommissioning of the Banzala A platform and associated pipelines. The four-pile wellhead platform was installed on the Banzala Field in 128 ft of water offshore Cabinda using Global's Comanche pipelay/derrick vessel. The Banzala development is expected to produce 30,000 b/d of oil when it comes onstream in 2000.


Arco and Phillips agreed on an exchange of interests for acreage in Venezuela. Under a recently signed agreement, Arco has assumed Phillips 18% interest in Block LL-652 in Lake Maracaibo in exchange for Arco's interest in the onshore Hamaca heavy oil project in eastern Venezuela. This will increase Arco's interests in the blocks to 36% upon approval. Other interest-holders in the block include Chevron (27%), Statoil (27%), and PDVSA (10%).

Vastar's Sting prospect in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico Viosca Knoll Block 1001 has proven non-commercial. The company said the well did encounter hydrocarbons, but not in commercial quantities. Vastar will now move the rig to the Horn Mountain prospect in Mississippi Canyon Block 127 where the company holds a 67% interest. Vastar is also currently drilling on the Cayenne prospect in Garden Banks 920 where it holds a 40% interest. The company began its deepwater program in 1997 and said it plans to drill or participate in four to six deepwater wells annually.

Exxon and Petrobras signed agreements for an oil exploration and production joint venture on two blocks offshore Brazil. The contracts were for the BP-1 Block in the Pelotas Basin in the Rio Grande do Sul state and the BFZ-1 Block in the Foz do Amazonas Basin. Exxon's Esso Brasileria de Petroleo will serve as operator on both blocks and hold a 60% stake in the BP-1 Block and a 50% interest in the BFZ-1 Block.

Apache added to its natural gas portfolio with two discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico. The West Cameron 615 A-4 well tested at 35 MMcf/d of gas and encountered 180 ft of pay in two zones. The second well, High Island 86 No. 1, flowed 17.5 MMcf/d of gas from a dual completion. The two wells tested at a combined rate of 52.3 MMcf/d of gas and are now on production.

Husky Oil's appraisal well L-08 on the White Rose Field in the Jeanne d'Arc basin off Newfoundland encountered oil. The well drilled a oil reservoir with a producing zone more than 330 ft-thick and flowed a combined 5,000 b/d of oil from two tests using a restricted choke. The well is located about 30 miles east of the Hibernia Field. Another appraisal well will be drilled about 2 miles south of the well in the fourth quarter of this year.

Tana Oil & Gas has made a gas discovery on Ship Shoal Block 278 in the Gulf of Mexico in 200 ft of water. The well opened approximately 20 net ft of pay in two intervals. The company will contract to build a production platform for the discovery next year. The well is the second of a 12-prospect exploratory program begun in May.


Conoco encountered extensive natural gas zones with two wells drilled offshore Indonesia in Block B of the West Natuna Sea. The well West Belut #2 and Belut #5 were drilled to delineate the gas zones of the three-field Belut complex encountered by the Belut #3 well. Conoco said that two wells drilled into the Arang and Udang formations have the potential for high production rates of gas with minimal carbon dioxide. Conoco holds 40% in the West Belut and South Belut fields with partners Indonesia Petroleum (35%) and Texaco (25%).

The first well drilled with the new Deepwater Frontier deepwater drillship is unsuccessful. The well was drilled offshore New Zealand by operator Conoco, co-owner of the drillship, in 4,812 ft of water about 90 miles northwest of Auckland. The well did not encounter any hydrocarbons. Conoco holds a 57% interest in the block, which covers over 12 million acres.

Mitsui Oil Exploration has pledged to spend $35 million on oil exploration in Thailand this year. The announcement came following an agreement the company reached with the government of Thailand for the acquisition of a 4% stake from PTT Exploration and Production in blocks 14A, 15A, and 16A in the Gulf of Thailand.

Unocal has again confirmed the commerciality of the Pakarang gas field in the Gulf of Thailand with four new delineation wells. The Pakarang 6, 7, 8, and 9 wells each encountered 161-347 ft of natural gas-bearing sands. Unocal now estimates the gross gas resource potential to be between 275 and 550 Bcf. Pakarang lies in concession Block 11 and was originally discovered in 1983. The company is currently reviewing the data to determine the field development plan.

BHP has announced that first oil pro duction from the Laminaria and Corallina development in the Timor Sea offshore Australia is expected in the fourth quarter. Peak production on the development is expected to be 150,000 b/d of oil. Production drilling on the field is underway. BHP holds 32.6% in Laminaria and 25% in Corallina with partners Woodside, with 50%, and Shell, with 25%.

Statoil has completed its withdrawal from Thailand. Statoil decided last year to withdraw from Thailand as part of a plan to concentrate its international assets in a few selected core areas. The first step was taken when the company sold its interest in the Bongkot gas field last year. Now the company has sold 35% of its 45% interest in the B 10/32 gas field to Unocal along with Statoil's 20% interest in Block W8/38 and W9/38 in the Andaman Sea. The remaining 10% in B 10/32 was sold to Mitsui Oil Exploration. Unocal now holds an 80% interest in B 10/32 and Mitsui holds 20%.

Central Asia

The Memorandum of Understanding for an additional pipeline to the Caspian Sea has been signed. The partners in the Karachaganak Field in Kazakhstan signed the agreement to construct a $280 million oil pipeline from the field to the Caspian where it will link with the export line from the Tengiz Field to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The pipeline will have an annual capacity of 7 million tons. The operators of the field are BG and ENI, each with a 32.5% interest, along with partners Texaco (20%) and LUKoil (15%).

Russian President Yeltsin has given the approval for a production sharing agreement on the Kirinsky Block off Sakhalin Island. Kirinsky is part of the Sakhalin III project and covers 7,500 sq km with estimated reserves of 4 billion bbl of oil. Drilling will begin next year by the operating consortium Pegastar Neftegaz comprised of Mobil, Texaco, and Rosneft-SMNG/KMK, each holding 33%. In addition, approval was given for a new licensing round offshore Sakhalin to be held later this year.

Azerbaijan's Parliament has approved a $2.3 billion agreement between SOCAR and four Japanese companies for the oil fields in the Caspian Sea. Under the agreement, Japan Petroleum Exploration, Indonesian Petroleum, and Itochu will hold a 22.5%, 12.5%, and 7.5% stake, respectively, in the exploration and development of the Atashgyah, Janan Tava, and Mugan Deniz fields. SOCAR will hold the remaining 50%. The agreement allows the companies a 25-year period for the exploration and development of the fields with a commitment of drilling at least two exploration wells in the next three years and one additional well if any of these is a discovery.


Norway has granted Saga approval for development and operation of the Borg Field in the North Sea. Production began on the field last month. The field has recoverable reserves of 75 million bbl. The initial production was 15,000 b/d of oil from the first phase, with a peak planned for 30,000 b/d by 2001. A subsea installation is also planned for the field's development.

Saga has given Procon Drilling Services a contract for drilling, well workover, and drilling equipment and systems maintenance for the Snorre TLP and Snorre B. The contract is for three years with two options of two years each. Operations will begin in October.

Conoco made a natural gas discovery on the E-Plus prospect in the UK North Sea Block 49/17. The discovery well 49/17-13 was drilled to a total depth of 10,160 ft into the Rotliegendes sandstone and encountered hydrocarbon-bearing sections of 350-370 net ft. Studies are underway to determine the extent of the find and a minimal platform tied back to either the Lincolnshire Offshore Gas Gathering System or Viking Transportation System is being considered for the development.

Statoil has awarded the Coflexip Stena Offshore-Rockwater joint veuture the final contract for the Sygna development in the Norwegian North Sea. The contract covers the installation of subsea equipment, umbilicals, and flowlines on the field. The field will be developed using a single template supporting two production wells tied back to the C installation 21 km to the south. Sygna lies between two production licenses - Block 33/9, which includes the Statfjord Field, and Block 34/7, which includes Snorre. Production is expected next May.

Middle East

Samedan has made a deepwater discovery in the Mediterranean offshore Israel. The well, NOA-1, was drilled to a total depth of 7,149 ft on the PL 273 exploration license in 2,555 ft of water and tested at a rate of 30 MMcf/d of gas. Samedan is the operator of the licenses with a 40% stake along with partners Avner Exploration (25%), Delek Drilling (25%), and RB Mediterranean (10%).

Arco added two new production wells to the Al Rayyan oil field offshore Qatar. The ALR-14 and ALR-15 are the seventh and eight producing wells on the field. Both wells were drilled from the Amina production platform and targeted the Arab-C formation. The new wells have a combined initial production of about 6,500 b/d of oil. The field is controlled by the Qatar Consortium, which comprises Arco (27.5%), Gulfstream Resources (27.5%), BG (25%), and Preussag Energie (5%).

BG (British Gas) has won three permits for oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea off Israel. The areas under the permits cover about 2.5 million acres in three adjacent zones. The permits, for 18 months each, are part of an Israeli Gas Company tender to handle the development of a natural gas infrastructure in Israel. BG and its partners were one of four groups that pre-qualified for the tender. The three other groups have been awarded smaller permits that are mostly offshore.