Global E&P Briefs

Statoil has begun drilling its eighth Nigerian well.

Africa

Statoil has begun drilling its eighth Nigerian well. The company spudded Ekoli-1 in OPL 217 in 4,700 ft water depth. The well is targeting the Agbami-Ekoli reservoir, which yielded Texaco the billion-plus bbl Agbami discovery in neighboring OPL 216, and testing the extent of the reservoir. Statoil is using the Deepwater Millennium drillship for the work. The company will keep the rig on the block until September, after which it will go to OPL 218 to drill a wildcat on the Bilah structure near the Nnwa-1 discovery made in February.

Americas

Spirit Energy 76 has reached an agreement with the owners of the Mad Dog Field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico that gives the company a 15.6% working interest in an expanded area covering the entire field. Based on appraisal drilling results, the companies (Spirit, BP Amoco [operator], and BHP) have expanded the Mad Dog Field from the original two and a half block unit (Green Canyon blocks 825, 826, and the southern half of 782) to also include Green Canyon blocks 738, 739, 781, 783, 827, and the northern half of 782. Spirit held a 25% interest on the original unit.

R&B Falcon's Reading & Bates Develop-ment Co. (DEVCO) and R&B Falcon Subsea Development subsidiaries have concluded sales of their E&P properties to Enterprise. Under the agreement, DEVCO sold its 50% working interest in the Boomvang Field development and interests in 19 other deepwater exploration blocks, while Subsea sold its 100% interest in the Gyrfalcon Field. Total cash consideration for the sales was $127.25 million.

Statoil, Phillips, Dansk Oilie og Naturgas, and Nunaoil have begun drilling the first deepwater well on the Fylla license, 3/97 off Greenland. The well is being drilled with Smedvig's West Navion drillship and represents the rig's first deepwater assignment. Drilling of the well has been delayed for some time due to construction delays with the rig and procurement of a suitable replacement. The well is targeting a depth of just under 3,000 meters.

Less than a year after McMoRan Explor-ation signed an agreement with Shell by which it would purchase the company's interest in 56 exploratory leases in the Gulf of Mexico, the companies have struck a new deal in reverse in which McMoRan is selling its properties to Shell. McMoRan has agreed to sell its 35% interest in Brazos Block A-19 and its 50% interest in the unexplored Brazos Block A-26. Shell plans to drill a new well on Block A-19, where McMoRan experienced a damaged well in November and had to plug and abandon the well.

Asia/Pacific

Texaco has made a shallow water oil discovery in the Bohai Bay off China. The company drilled the Bozhong 25-1-8 well in 57 ft of water in Bohai Bay Contract Area 11/19. The well was drilled to a TD of 7,134 ft and following initial results indicated the presence of high quality reservoir sands between 5,500 and 5,700 ft in the Tertiary Minghuazhen formation with net total pay of 115 ft. Studies are underway to determine the well's commerciality.

Rosneft has begun test drilling on the Astrakhanovsky Block off Sakhalin Island. The company began drilling in late July on the block that is included in the Sakhalin 4 contract area. Drilling was required on the block by year-end or it would have been withdrawn as part of the terms of the contract agreement despite the lack of a production sharing agreement (PSA) on development of the block. Rosneft said that it expects the Duma (the lower house of the Russian Parliament) to add Sakhalin 4 to a list of oil fields to be developed under the PSA this year.

Central Asia

Ramco Energy sold its 2.0825% carried interest in the Azeri Chirag Gunashli Field production sharing agreement off Azerbaijan to Amerada Hess. The terms of the agreement call for Amerada Hess to pay a total of $150 million in four installments to Ramco. The agreement also establishes a strategic alliance between the companies giving Amerada Hess the opportunity to farm into other Ramco projects.

Europe

The UK Department of Trade and Industry has granted ExxonMobil approval to proceed with the development of the Skene Field in the northern North Sea. The $400 million gas development project will entail a subsea manifold tied back by bundled pipeline to the Beryl Alpha platform nine miles away. The field is expected to produce 180 MMcf/d of gas and 25,000 b/d of associated liquids which will be exported through the Scottish Area Gas Evacuation pipeline to the Mobil-operated processing plant in St. Fergus, Scotland. Subsidiary Mobil North Sea Limited will operate the field expected to come onstream early 2002.

Statoil notched a gas and condensate discovery in Block 30/3 due south of the Huldra Field in the North Sea. While no testing has been done and the well has been plugged and abandoned, the company drilled to a depth of 4,022 meters in 123 meters water depth. Statoil has said that it could potentially develop the discovery with a subsea tieback to the Huldra platform set to be installed the summer.

Following last year's approval to be an oil producer, Aker Maritimehas filed an application to become licensee of a block in the Norwegian North Sea. The company jointly filed with Germany-based RWE-DEA for license of Block 35/3. The block holds a gas field discovered in 1980 that was deemed uneconomic. Pending approval, the companies plan to drill a test well next spring and submit a plan for development by 2002 if the well meets expectations.

Esso Exploration and Production UK received approval from the British government for the development of the Brigantine gas fields in the southern North Sea. Brigantine consists of three fields holding estimated recoverable reserves of about 280 bcf of gas. The development is expected to come onstream in January at a rate of 130 MMcf/d of gas from four wells. Total project cost is estimated at $150 million. Esso holds a 50% interest in the fields with partner Shell holding the other 50%.

Middle East

PGS has been awarded a survey contract on one of the largest offshore oil fields, the Zakum Field offshore Abu Dhabi. The survey, already underway, is expected to take 15 months and will cover 1,500 sq km. PGS will use its PetroTrac suite of seismic technologies, which are aimed at production and recovery optimization. ;

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