CNOOC/OPIC Block 06/07 in the Taiwan Straits. CTOC's Cakerawala-3 in the Malay-Thai Joint Development Area.

Bangladesh Sangu to be developed

UK independent Cairn Energy and Dallas-based Halliburton Co. have entered into a contract-to-purchase agreement to develop the Sangu gasfield in offshore Bangladesh Block 16. Cairn and Halliburton have also signed an agreement which may widen the scope of their co-operation to areas outside Sangu, including the possibility of a regional pipeline. In Block 16, Cairn will form an integrated management team with Halliburton, which will acquire a 25% interest in the Sangu Field by funding 50% of the development costs. the field has estimated reserves of 1 tcf gas and will supply the Bangladeshi market, with first production slated for 1998. The contract is currently still subject to approval by Petrobangla and the Bangladesh government.

Testing ongoing on several promising Chinese fields

Triton's HZ 23-2-1 wildcat in Pearl River Mouth Basin PSCA 16/22 was plugged and abandoned (with oil and gas shows) on 8 July. After reaching a TD of 4,520 meters, a testing program was initiated, but each of the four DSTs failed to flow. Triton Senior VP (Exploration) Nick De'ath said that "despite the results of the well, our long term commitment to explore this high potential, hydrocarbon-rich area remains strong."

Elsewhere, state subsidiary CONHW has stepped up appraisal drilling on the DF 1-1 Field in the Yinggehai Basin, offshore Hainan. DF 1-1-9 was abandoned on 7 July, after testing a maximum of 8.76 million cf/d gas of low CO2 content from a four DST program. Meanwhile, a well designed to test the deeper middle horizons of the field, DF 1-1-Z1, was spudded on 9 July using the Nanhai-4 jackup. The well, which is prognosed to 2,400 meters, is currently operating after taking a gas kick while tripping out of the hole.

First joint exploration set by China and Taiwan

In an historic agreement on 11 July, CNOOC and its counterpart CPC signed the first joint exploration contract between mainland Chinese and Taiwanese companies, for Block 06/07 in the eastern Pearl River Mouth/Tainan Basins. The 15,400 sq km block is undrilled and abuts Oriental Petroleum's PSCA 17/15 in its southwest corner. Equity is split 50:50 in the license, but as direct trade with the mainland is banned under Taiwanese law, CPC's involvement in the project is in the form of its Panama-registered overseas subsidiary, the Overseas Petroleum & Investment Corp. The agreement is the result of two years' negotiations, which began in Singapore in April 1994. Over the course of the two-year contract, the partners will reprocess 3,000 km of existing seismic and acquire 1,500 km of new 2D data. There is an option to convert the agreement to a PSC at the end of the contract period. Each company is committing US$500,000 to the project and any future profits will also be divided equally.

Mobil gains interest in Indonesia's Natuna Field

In late July, Pertamina signed an agreement with Mobil granting it 26% equity in the giant Natuna D Alpha development project. Mobil took its interest from Pertamina, whose stake in the project is now reduced to 24%, with Exxon holding the other 50%. Pertamina President Director Faisal Abda'oe said Mobil had not paid anything for its stake, but would be required to contribute to the estimated US$40 billion development costs. He added that Pertamina was still in talks with potential Japanese investors to further reduce its stake to 11%.

Malaysia/Thailand JDA reveal two more discoveries

In MTJDA Block 18 in the Malay Basin, CTOC's Cakerwala-3 delineation was completed as an oil, gas, and condensate well in mid-July. After drilling to a TD of 2,991 meters, a testing program recovered 3,002 b/d of 37! API oil on a two-inch choke and a combined 47 million cf/d gas and 225 b/d on various choke sizes. The five intervals tested were at depths between 1,207 and 2,094 meters. Following the better than expected results from the Cakerawala-2 and -3 wells, CTOC has decided to defer further drilling on the structure.

Elsewhere in the same block, wildcat Bulan-1 was completed as a gas/condensate discovery by CTOC in mid-July. The well, which had been spudded on 4 June using Atwoods Falcon semisubmersible, was drilled to a TD of 2,176 meters in the Middle Miocene section. The ensuing testing program flowed a combined 36 million cf/d gas and 123 b/d condensate from three DSTs between 1,233 and 2,085 meters. The rig then relocated to spud Suriya-2 in the same block.

Philippines acreage changing hands via new agreements

Alcorn has signed an agreement with Australian firm Sydney Oil Co. Development & Exploration Trust, for the possible acquisition of as much as a 60% interest in the West Linapacan Field in SC14/C. The firm will conduct due diligence work and decide by this month whether or not to proceed with the agreement. Under the agreement, Sydney Oil will be required to conduct a 3D survey with a minimum expenditure of US$6 million, to earn an initial 35% stake. The survey is provisionally slated to start next month.

Following the disappointment of the Manila Bay-2 re-drill in GSEC 72 in Manila Bay, British Gas has decided not to exercise its option to acquire a 25% interest in the tract. British Gas had 60 days from the date the well was plugged and abandoned (5 June) to exercise the option.

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