The worldwide offshore drilling rate is at the highest level it has been in over five years. Global Marine's Score indicator, which monitors current offshore mobile drilling rig day rates as a percentage of estimated day rates contractors must have to justify building new rigs, rose from 42.79 to 43.61 in August, despite flat oil and gas prices.
Worldwide offshore oil production will reach 24.085 million b/d by 2004, according to projections by Petroconsultants. Although demand will be up by 2.35% a year in producing countries, the leading regions - Western Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America - will be in permanent production decline.
OPEC is continuing to show a decline in market share, and its Secretary General Rilwanu Lukman is telling developing nations that the decline could lead to volatility in world oil prices, which, in turn, could slow their economic growth. He's calling for coordination between the oil cartel and nonOPEC members to reduce oversupply and stabilize prices.
Marathon has made a major discovery in Gabon's Kowe offshore permit. The Tchatamba Marine #1 wildcat, in 151 ft of water 18 miles offshore, tested at a rate of 4,545 b/d oil from 180 ft of net pay. Further seismic is planned to delineate the discovery.
Nigeria's Ejulebe Field, operated by the private independent Nigerian oil company Atlas Petroleum, has tested 6,000 b/d oil. It lies just three km from Chevron's Mefa Field. It will likely be produced through the Chevron facility.
Shell's deepwater Bonga-1, drilling in almost 4,000 ft water depth since September, is Nigeria's second deepwater well. Allied Petroleum spudded its Oyo-1 in 1,000 ft water in July. Both Agip and Exxon are preparing their own deepwater locations.
Oman is out of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which appears to have reformed into a new group comprised of Chevron, Mobil, Lukoil, Agip, and British Gas, according to Kazakh Oil Minister Nurlan Balginbayev. Oman was ousted, he said, for failing to meet financial obligations.
Turkey has warned neighbors that the possibility of a major regional dispute will be brought about if they and western oil companies try to pressure Turkey into allowing oil from the Caspian to pass through its straits. "No one can expect us to let tankers carrying 300,000 tons of oil pass through the center of Istanbul city, where 17 million people live," said State Minister Necmellin Cevheri.
Azerbaijan's Karabakh Field is at the center of a dispute between Ramco Energy and Pennzoil. Ramco claims it is due a share of the Karabakh PSC that was granted to Pennzoil because it had a 30% share in developing a gas gathering project for the Guneshli and Neft-Dashlari Fields.
Iran has been offered participation in the exploration and development of the massive Shakh Deniz Field in Azerbaijan's southern Caspian aquatory. The billion bbl field has also been the subject of talks with Statoil/BP and TPAO, and might also be offered to Lukoil. Shell, Mobil, Elf, Exxon, and Agip are also interested.
Iran has the greatest gas potentialin the Middle East, says Paul Papadopoulos, head economist of Arab Banking Corp., with 15% of world's total. Speaking at the Middle East Gas Summit in Abu dhabi, he said Iran's gas needs are growing, but so are its offshore gasfields, mostly in the southern Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. South Pars and Sirri Fields are first to be developed, but funds are needed for other major gasfields.
CNOOC's 9th 10-year plan has been announced. The development program calls for annual production to be 10 million tons next year, 12 million in 1997, and 8-10 million through 2010. Current production is 6 million tons.
India's ONGC will be drilling its first deepwater wells early next year. Four wells are planned at a depth of 1,000 meters in the Bombay High region. Estimated cost will be about $70 million.
Australia's Northwest Shelf has produced another important field. Apache Oil has discovered the Stag Field. One well tested 5,820 b/d oil and 358 Mcf/d gas, and is located in Block WA209. Probable development will be a tie-back to the Wandoo Field.
Canada's Newfoundland discovery, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence onshore/offshore Port au Port Field, has apparantly fizzled. Hunt Oil had stirred up quite an interest with its discovery well, but nothing has been said since. Supposedly Talisman is going ahead with a well, but other players are holding back: Mobil is farming out its adjacent block, and the Hunt-PanCanadian JV is simply waiting.
Greenlandis having a new licensing round for blocks off its west coast. Rumor has it that recent seismic studies of the area indicate a structure more than twice the size of Norway's Troll Field that may contain very large gas reserves, among other prospective indicators.
Mexico's Pemex has contracted with Western Geophysical for acquisition of 3D, 2D subsalt, and conventional 2D seismic data on its recently discovered Tabasco Littoral prospect in the Mexican Gulf off the mouth of the Coatzacoalcos River. [Last month it was erroneously announced here that PGS was acquiring this data.]
Venezuela is now offering joint venture contracts for exploration and development of several prospective areas, including three offshore blocks: two in the Gulf of Paria and one, a transition zone/offshore block in the Amacuro Delta, for a total of 4,250 sq km.
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