Algeria could be offering all of its offshore acreage in its next licensing rounds.

Judy Maksoud


Algeria could be offering all of its offshore acreage in its next licensing rounds.

The offshore area is divided into three blocks 143, 144, and 145, none of which has seen activity for nearly 30 years.

As part of a multi-client non-exclusive agreement with state-owned Sonatrach, WesternGeco has shot 5,000 km of new 2D seismic on the acreage, which will be made available to potential bidders.

In mid September, Apache announced its third deepwater natural gas discovery with the El Max-1X well in its 2.3-million-acre West Mediterranean concession offshore Egypt. El Max-1X is in 3,100 ft of water 5.5 mi south of Apache's first deepwater discovery, the Abu Sir-1X, which was completed in May.

The company says that the El Max discovery has the largest gross potential pay Apache has yet encountered in the West Mediterranean concession. The company believes it will reach its goal of establishing at least 3 tcf in reserves from the deepwater segment of the concession. Apache is planning two more deepwater wells before year-end.

Apache operates the concession with a 55% interest in the deepwater portion. RWE-DEA has a 28.3333% interest, and BP holds the remaining 16.667%.

Central Asia

Petronas Carigali (Turkmenistan) Sdn Bhd has discovered oil and gas reserves with its East Livanov 2A well in block 1 in the Caspian Sea. The company will assess well data to confirm the commercial viability of the discovered reserves.

Petronas Carigali Turkmenistan was awarded a 100% interest in block 1 through a production-sharing contract signed with the Turkmen government in 1996. This PSC was the first awarded by the government of Turkmenistan after the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan has invited Petronas to invest in its oil and gas sector. One of the regions being used as incentive is the Caspian Sea.

Foreign investment since 1991 totals $13 billion. Kazakhstan has a relatively small population and limited means to develop its hydrocarbon resources and is seeking more foreign investment.


Husky Energy Inc. has concluded its 2002 exploration program in Newfoundland's Jeanne d'Arc basin. The Glomar Grand Banks semisubmersible drilled two wildcat wells, the most recent on the Gros Morne Exploration license (EL 1055). The earlier well was drilled on the Trepassey Exploration license (EL 1044).

The wells evaluated the viability of two large undrilled structures south of Husky's White Rose oil field. Drilling results will help Husky develop its exploration strategy in the region.

Husky has 100% working interest in both license areas.


Aminex has completed preparations for drilling the first well planned for the Nyuni license off Tanzania. Originally scheduled to spud in September, the Nyuni well is now planned for 4Q 2002, as is an additional well called Okuza.

The license area covers 2,600 sq km from Tanzania's Indian Ocean shoreline east into deepwater. Seismic surveys have been done on only 30% of the area.

Angola and Equatorial Guinea announced plans late in 3Q 2002 to join efforts in the search for offshore oil and gas. The focus of the joint effort is the area offshore Equatorial Guinea's Annobon Island, 188 mi off the coast of Gabon.

State oil company Sonangol has reportedly been interested in joint activities since the discovery of major oil fields off Equatorial Guinea in the 1990s led to increased activity.

The country's oil production now stands at 250,000 b/d.

Middle East

In late September, ChevronTexaco began drilling its first exploration well on block V in the Persian Gulf offshore Bahrain. The Noble Charles Copeland jackup will drill the Tighaylib-1 well, which is to be completed by the end of November.

ChevronTexaco has 100% ownership of the block.

Half of the money to be invested in Qatar through 2007 will come from foreign companies, according to Qatar's Minister of Energy, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah. The total estimated investment over that period is $7.5 billion, though the number could be much higher, he said. A portion of this investment will go to new gas developments. Nearly one-fourth of Qatar's revenue last year resulted from LNG and other gas sales.


Portugal's Instituto Geologico e Mineiro (IGM) has issued additional terms and commitment requirements for the country's deep-water licensing round, which will close Dec 2.

Fourteen blocks, ranging from 2,100 sq km to 3,200 sq km in size, will be offered. Four of the blocks are in the Estremadura/South Peniche area, six are in the Alentejo/Sagres basin, and four are in the Algarve Basins.

The blocks range in size from 2,100 sq km to 3,200 sq km. The blocks are offered for eight-year terms, with a contractual right to extend by one year two times. There are no drilling commitments for the first three years.

In mid October, Amerada Hess Corp. plugged and abandoned the 204/16-1 well in the Faeroe-Shetland trough. The well was drilled to appraise the Faeroese 6004/16-1Z untested oil and gas discovery drilled last year, but encountered uncommercial volumes of hydrocarbons.

Partners in the license covering block 204/16 include Amerada Hess with 42.57%, BG 39.6%, DONG 16.83%, and Atlantic Petroleum 1%. Pre-mier Oil has farmed in to 16% of BG's equity in the license.

Statoil spudded an appraisal well on the Tyrihans South find in the Norwegian Sea in late September. The semisubmersible Stena Don is carrying out the drilling program, expected to take about 45 days.

Gas and oil were proven in Tyrihans South in 1983 and in Tyrihans North in 1984 on blocks in production licenses 073 and 091, 40 km south of the Åsgard field. Statoil considers the Tyrihans find to be a satellite of Åsgard.

Statoil operates production license 091 with 55% interest. Partners are Norsk Hydro with 33% interest and ExxonMobil with 12%. Statoil also operates production license 073 with a 54.67% interest. TotalFinaElf has 33.33%, with Norsk Hydro holding the remaining 12%.


Vietnam's Nam Con Son field is expected to begin producing gas by the end of this month. Petrovietnam says the field, which lies off south Vietnam, should produce 2.7 MMcm/d.

Two subsidiaries of Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production have found oil and gas off Vietnam. Pttep Hoan Vu Ltd., in which Pttep has a 25% interest, and Pttep Hoang Long Ltd., in which the company holds a 15% stake, have discoveries on blocks 16-1 and 9-2.

The 16-1-NO-1X exploration well drilled on block 16-1 found oil in basement granite rock formations. The 09-2-CNV-1 well, drilled on block 09-2, found oil and gas.

The government of Australia has awarded five new petroleum exploration permits off Western Australia, including frontier acreage in the Perth Basin.

The permits were awarded to Daytona Energy Corp. (WA-324-P), Roc Oil (WA) PL, Bounty Oil and Gas NL, Chimelle Petroleum Ltd (WA-325-P), Agip Australia BV (WA-326-P), Chimelle Petroleum Ltd (WA-327-P), and AGIP Australia BV, Santos Offshore PL (WA-328-P).

License holders will spend an estimated $122 million in exploration activities over the next six years. All of the areas will see a seismic program followed by at least one well.

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