Global E&P Briefs

In late December, the government of Trinidad & Tobago opened up a new offshore gas province by approving the development of three BG-operated fields (Hibiscus, Poinsettia, and Chaconia) 25 miles off the north coast of Trinidad.

Americas

In late December, the government of Trinidad & Tobago opened up a new offshore gas province by approving the development of three BG-operated fields (Hibiscus, Poinsettia, and Chaconia) 25 miles off the north coast of Trinidad. The fields are in the North Coast Marine Area (NCMA) and hold total proved and probable reserves of 2.4 tcf. The first well will be drilled in 2001, with production beginning next year. A consortium of British, Italian, and German energy companies and the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (Petrotrin) will develop the area, with BG Group as operator and holding 45.9% equity. Other consortium participants are ENI of Italy (17.3%), Veba Oil & Gas of Germany (17.3%), and Petrotrin (19.5%).

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has tested 3,000 b/d of oil from a wildcat off Espirito Santo state, the first oil discovery in more than 2,000 meters water depth in the Campos basin. The 1-BRSA-18-ESS well, located 160 km offshore in 2,243 meters of water, was drilled to 5,510 meters. Three separate oil reservoirs were identified in the course of drilling, Petrobras said, including one that is 27 meters thick. Tests were made at 4,450-4,484 meters, confirming the presence of 35-degree oil. Tests yielded a flow of 3,000 b/d. This new discovery will be the country's first ultra-deepwater oil field at 5,515 meters below sea level. While Brazil has opened up its oil market by auctioning off extensive tracts of territory to domestic and foreign bidders in an effort to expand production, Petrobras has held on to the Campos Basin, which accounts for more than three-fourths of the 1.3 million bbl Brazil produces.

PanCanadian Petroleum Limited ann-ounced the results of its third Deep Panuke appraisal well, M-79A, drilled about 250 kilometers southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and about three km east of the Panuke platform. A five-day test yielded well flow at an average rate of more than 63 MMcf/d of gas. PanCanadian Petroleum Limited's holdings offshore Nova Scotia extend over about 4.5 million gross acres through interests in 15 exploration licenses. The company expects to make a decision on the commerciality of a stand-alone development of the Deep Panuke field by the end of the first quarter of this year. PanCanadian holds a 100% working interest in Deep Panuke.

Asia/Pacific

ONGC Videsh, the foreign investing arm of the Oil and Natural Gas Corp., signed a protocol agreement with Russia's national oil company, Rosneft, on December 19, 2000, to take a 20% stake in the Sakhalin 1 offshore oil exploration project. Oil Minister Ram Naik said the next step would be "confirmation or approval" of the agreement by the governments of the two countries and also clearance from other partners in the project: Japan's Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co. Ltd. (SODECO) and ExxonMobil Corp. of the United States. The project is located off Russia's Far East island of Sakhalin.

Europe

Noble Affiliates, Inc. subsidiary EDC Europe Limited, and Shell U.K. Limited have completed a North Sea asset exchange in which Shell acquired from EDC a 12.5% interest in Block 20/4b and a cash payment. In exchange, EDC acquired a 12.885% interest in Block 21/20a, which includes the Cook Field, located about 100 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland. Cook Field, with a current gross production of about 12,000 b/d of oil, has a life estimate of around five years, with recoverable reserves estimated at over 20 million bbl.

EDC Europe Limited has obtained an interest in two licenses in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. The company has acquired a 15% interest from Veba Oil & Gas Hanze GmbH and ONEPM Minerals B.V. in the production license F2a. The license on the Dutch continental shelf includes the Hanze oil field, located 200 km north of Den Helder in the Netherlands and covering 4.5 sq km. This will be the first oil field to come into production in the Dutch sector of the North Sea in 10 years. Also, EDC will participate in the drilling of an exploration well in the F5 exploration license, located south of the F2a license. EDC will have a 40% share in the license after the exploration well is drilled this year.

Norway's Minister of Petroleum announ-ced that 12 oil companies turned in applications in the latest round of licensing on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The list includes Agip SPA, BP PLC, Chevron Corp., Conoco Inc., Enterprise Oil PLC, ExxonMobil Corp., Norsk Hydro AS, Fortum Oil AS, Phillips Petroleum Co., RWE-DEA AG, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Statoil AS, and Aker Maritime AS.

Central Asia

On January 2, Dragon Oil PLC announced it had spudded the first of three planned wells in Lam field in the eastern Caspian Sea after a 3-month delay. The well is being drilled using a converted land rig, which has been upgraded to project requirements. The rig has been installed on the strengthened and refurbished Lam-22 platform. The first well, designated Lam 22-101, targets reserves in the Red Series formation of the Lam Field, which were proven by a previous operator, but were not developed. Lam 22-101 should be complete in Q1. Oil is anticipated from a depth of approximately 2,000 meters to the proposed total depth of about 4,300 meters. The well may be deepened to 4,600 meters, if conditions permit. Dragon Oil plans to drill two more wells following Lam 22-101 in this initial development program. Lam 22-101 has the scope for a total of six new wells if the results of the initial wells justify further drilling.

The company believes there is very significant potential in the Cheleken Block.Proven and probable reserves have been independently certified as being about 600 million bbl of oil and 2.2 tcf of gas.

Middle East

Enterprise Middle East Ltd., a subsidiary of Enterprise Oil PLC, signed a participation agreement with South Pars operator Petro Pars Ltd., giving the UK oil company a 20% stake in Phases 6, 7, and 8 of a giant gas field development project off Iran.

Late in December 2000, Tracer Petroleum Corporation entered into an agreement through a new Iranian subsidiary, Tracer Iran Trade & Finance Ltd. (TITF), to form a joint venture for trading products into and out of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the terms of this agreement, joint venture business activities will include buying, selling, trading, and marketing crude oil and petroleum products, including "swaps" involving countries in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea regions, as well as financing pipeline, refinery, gas treatment, LNG, and other petroleum downstream projects in Iran. The new joint venture set up an office immediately in Tehran. Profits from the business activities of this joint venture will be split on a 60/40 basis, in favor of TITF, subject to a monthly review by the partners in the joint venture.

Africa

TotalFinaElf SA has launched basic engineering studies for the Dalia project. The field is on Block 17, 135 km off Angola in 1,300 meters water depth. Dalia is located near the Girassol oil field, which is due on stream in late 2001, with peak production of 200,000 b/d oil. Dalia may have greater production potential than Girassol, said TotalFinaElf.

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