Global E&P Briefs

A seismic survey that began in August will allow further delineation of the area's prospects. To date, most exploration off the Falklands has been carried out north of the islands.


The Falkland Islands Hydrocarbon Consortium, recently formed by Global Petroleum and Hardman Resources, was awarded frontier acreage off the Falkland Islands. The group now holds 10 adjoining exploration licenses covering 57,700 sq km southeast of the islands in water depths to 6,562 ft.

A seismic survey that began in August will allow further delineation of the area's prospects. To date, most exploration off the Falklands has been carried out north of the islands.

The newly formed joint venture comprises Global Petroleum, with a 50% interest, Hardman Resources with 30% interest, and a local Falklands company holding the other 20%.

Petroecuador is making preparations for Ecuador's ninth round of exploration and production concessions this October. An area covering 2.6 million hectares will be put up for bid. Two of the blocks are in the Gulf of Guayaquil.

Royal Dutch/Shell has announced that it will drill two appraisal wells in the deepwater Campos and Santos basins off Brazil. The wells targeted blocks BC-10 and BS-4.

The company needs to find more reserves in the region to lower production costs of already identified reserves.

Shell has invested $250 million in Brazil exploration since 1999.

Central Asia

In late July, Lukoil was awarded the right to develop Russia's half of the Khvalynskoye field in the northern Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan's state-owned oil and gas company Kazmunaigaz will develop the other half of the field.

This announcement emerged from the latest meeting of five of the Caspian littoral states, which took place in Tehran, Iran.

The Khvalynskoye field was one of three northern Caspian fields divided between Russia and Kazakhstan in a bilateral agreement in May.

Some estimates place reserves in the Kur-mangazy field on a par with Kazakhstan's Kashagan field, which holds 7-9 Bbbl of proven oil reserves and up to 38 Bbbl in probable reserves.


Kerr-McGee has announced that it will drill the first deepwater well ever offshore Benin at the end of this year. The company is reportedly looking for partners for block 4.

A more lax fiscal regime implemented by the Benin government for its 1998 licensing round has favorably changed the investment environment.

Hunt Oil signed a production sharing contract with Togo in late July for the country's first deepwater well. The company was awarded the exclusive right to Togo's entire offshore area last May. The contract area, previously divided into 15 blocks, covers 4,067 sq km.

Transocean drillship Deepwater Discovery is on tap to spud the well toward the end of the year.

Devon Energy is making plans to drill a deepwater well off Ghana by the beginning of 2003. The well will be drilled on the Keta block, where the company drilled an unsuccessful well in 2001.

Devon holds 60% of the block. Anadarko owns the remaining 40%.

Dana Petroleum has announced the signing of a contract with Diamond Offshore to hire the Ocean Whittington semisubmersible. The rig will drill the second exploration well in Ghana's Western Tano contract area. The WT-2X well was to spud in August near Dana's earlier WT-1X oil discovery. Through 3D seismic data analysis, the field's potential has been estimated at 100 MMbbl of oil. Dana holds a 90% interest.

Middle East

On July 28, Sheikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, Bahrain's minister of oil, announced that Petronas Carigali would have the right to explore off Bahrain's east coast. The award covers the 705-sq-km block IV and the 842-sq-km block VI off the northern coast.

Exploratory drilling will begin on blocks IV and VI in the Persian Gulf and in Fasht Al Adham. The Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research will provide preliminary data on the marine environment.

The exploration phase of this long-term project will cost $10 million. Development and production plans stretch over the next 24 years.


Murphy Oil Corporation has announced a significant oil discovery on the deepwater Kikeh prospect on block K, offshore Sabah Malaysia. Diamond Offshore semisubmersible Ocean Baroness drilled the well in 4,400 ft water depth in the southern part of block K.

This is the first deepwater oil discovery off Malaysia. The results of the initial well indicate tremendous prospectivity for Malaysia's deep-water frontier.

Murphy operates block K and neighboring block H with an 80% interest. Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd holds the remaining 20% interest. The two blocks cover over 6 million acres

Ceylon Petroleum Corp. (Ceypetco) ann-ounced that it will offer six to seven offshore oil and gas blocks in the Gulf of Mannar, west of Sri Lanka, in its first offshore bidding round by the end of 2002.

TGS-Nopec has surveyed 1,200 km of the area. The 2D seismic points to evidence of hydrocarbon reserves. Ceypetco issued a contract to TGS-Nopec to carry out a survey on a 700-km area in the gulf. That survey, which began early this year, will provide data that will be offered to companies interested in bidding for the blocks.

Ceypetco has reportedly made overtures to Malaysian Petronas, seeking the company's participation in exploring Sri Lanka's oil and gas resources.

In July, Egypt Oil Minister Sameh Fami signed an exploration and development agreement with Dover Investments Ltd. for a concession in the Gulf of Suez. The agreement covers the East Wadi Araba concession, which covers 152 sq mi. Dover plans to drill six wells in the area over the next seven years.


Apache Corporation has made a second deepwater discovery offshore Egypt with a wildcat well on its 2.3-million-acre West Medit-erranean Concession.

The Al Bahig-1X well, 37 mi offshore in 3,510 ft of water, is 10 mi southwest of Apache's recent Abu Sir Pliocene discovery.

Al Bahig-1X was drilled to a TD of 8,050 ft in the Kafr El Sheik (Pliocene) formation. Wireline logs and pressure data show reservoir quality similar to Abu Sir.

Apache has seven more deepwater prospects and leads in the WMC, of which three are scheduled to be drilled before the end of 2002.

Apache is operator, with 55% interest in the deepwater portion of the concession. RWE-DEA has 28.33% interest, and BP holds the remaining 16.67%.


In mid July, the Georgian State Agency for Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources extended an invitation to bid for blocks in the Black Sea. The right to explore and develop state-owned oil and gas minerals will be awarded in Georgia's 2,260-sq-km economic zone.

Sealed bids were due Sept. 16 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Dana Petroleum's 23/16c-8 UK North Sea exploration well Barbara discovered a full hydrocarbon column.

GlobalSantaFe semisubmersible Glomar Arctic IV drilled the well, which encountered a 276-ft thick sandstone reservoir holding rich gas condensate similar to that of the already producing Everest and Lomond fields nearby.

The results of the Barbara well will be evaluated in parallel with the exploration possibilities for nearby block 23/11.

Once Dana finishes the purchase of Agip's share in the field, Dana will have 27% interest.

More in Regional Reports