Global E&P Briefs

Onarep, Morocco's state oil and gas firm, has been handing out exploration licenses.


Onarep, Morocco's state oil and gas firm, has been handing out exploration licenses. The company granted Conoco a 12-month license to carry out geological studies on the Hociema-Nador Field in the Mediterranean. In addition, Onarep granted Shell the country's first deepwater petroleum agreement for an eight-year exploration period for five deepwater blocks known as Rimella A-E off the Atlantic coast. The blocks cover 9,026 sq km in water depths of 200-2,000 meters.

Elf and partners on Block 17 offshore Angola have recorded their ninth discovery on the block. The Jasmin 1 discovery well was drilled in 4,239 ft water depths and flowed at a test rate of 11,000 b/d of oil. Other discoveries on the block include: Girassol, Dalia, Rosa, Lirio, Tulipa, Orquidea, Cravo, and Camelia.

The Nigerian government expects that ExxonMobil's Erha oil field could produce 250,000 b/d of oil by 2003 or 2004. Assistant to the President on Petroleum Affairs stated that the field holds an estimated 1.2 billion bbl of oil, however ExxonMobil has yet to report any estimates. Also, he said he expects total output from Nigerian deepwater fields to reach 800,000 b/d by 2004.

Vanco Energy has signed a production sharing contract with Equatorial Guinea for the Corisco Deep Block to the south of Triton's Block G and Ceiba discovery. Corisco Deep lies in the Rio Muni portion of Equatorial Guinea in water depths of 20-2,500 meters, covering 1.1 million acres. Vanco said that the block lies on the same geologic trend as the Ceiba discovery. The terms of the agreement call for 2D and 3D seismic acquisition and two wells in five years.

Ranger plans to drill the second deepwater well of Côte d'Ivoire later this year. The company plans to drill the Baobab prospect in Block CI-40. Additionally, the company has awarded EPIC contracts to SaiBos for the development of the Espoir Field in Block CI-26. The development will entail an unmanned wellhead platform and a subsea gas export pipeline to shore with hydrocarbon processing on an FPSO. The company expects to begin production before the end of 2001.

Soekor and Pioneer have discovered an extension to the Sable oil field off South Africa. The companies encountered a thin oil column in a new accumulation separate from the Sable play with the E-BD5 well, the third appraisal well on the field in block 9. The companies plan to sidetrack the well up-dip where additional oil play is expected to be encountered.

Forest Oil discovered a gas field off South Africa with possible reserves of 2.5 tcf. The discovery well was drilled near the Namibian coastal border in 800 ft water depth. Forest and partner Anschutz Overseas South Africa have been granted a license on the northern South African coast up to the Namibian border. Testing is underway and if viable could be in production by 2004.


BP Amoco has made a discovery off Trinidad. The company drilled the Manakin 1 exploration well in Block 5B in 730 ft water depth on a large structure that straddles the Trinidad-Venezuelan median line. The well encountered new gas reservoirs, in addition to confirming shallow gas discovered in Venezuelan waters by Lagoven in their Coquina 1 exploration well drilled in 1983. Manakin 1 was drilled to 11,680 ft and encountered seven hydrocarbon bearing zones, with a net pay thickness of 300 feet. Manakin was the last of three commitment wells drilled in block 5b.

Forest Oil drilled a gas discovery at South Pelto 6 in the Gulf of Mexico. The No. 2 well was drilled to a total depth of 14,642 ft and logged an estimated 47 net ft of pay in the Big "B" channel sand. The well tested 15.2 MMcf/d of gas and 18 MMcf/d. Production is expected to begin next month.

Shell's Europa Field is onstream in Mississippi Canyon Block 934 of the Gulf of Mexico. Production is flowing from three wells at 40,000 b/d of oil and 30 MMcf/d of gas. The subsea production system is in 3,900 ft of water tied back 18 miles to Shell's Mars TLP on Mississippi Canyon Block 807. Shell holds 34% in the project. Its partners include BP Amoco (33%) and Agip (32%).

Elf and partners Mariner and Pioneer Natural Resources have confirmed the Aconcagua gas discovery in Mississippi Canyon Block 305 of the Gulf of Mexico with an appraisal well. The well was drilled to a depth of 14,113 ft and encountered over 250 net ft of gas pay. Elf plans to tie the field back to the Virgo platform in Viosca Knoll 823 with first production late next year.


Chevron-led WAPET has made another gas discovery in the Carnarvon Basin off Western Australia. While no results were announced, authorities did say the discovery, Maenad-1A, is similar in quality to the three other discoveries by WAPET in the past six months and indicated the presence of a massive gas reserve at least as large as the neighboring Gorgon area. The three previous wells have been estimated to hold 10 tcf of gas. The well was in deepwater permit WA-267-P.

Santa Fe Snyder has drilled a well that extends its Bootes Field on Block 15/34 in the Pearl River Mouth Basin off China and upgrades reserve estimates to the 50-70 million bbl range. The Panyu 15-2 well logged 200 ft of net pay interval and confirmed that the Bootes accumulation extends into the South Bootes structure. Bootes is located near the 1998 Ursa discovery and the company plans submit a plan to Chinese authorities to develop both fields.

Central Asia

Sakhalin Oil Development and ExxonMobil are planning to resume appraisal drilling on Sakhalin 1 off Sakhalin Island next month. The group was forced to suspend drilling after Russian authorities denied a drilling permit for environmental reasons. Reportedly, the real reason for the denial is the lack of funds by Russian partners. The partners have submitted a new application to the government, which is expected to be approved, making drilling possible in July.


The Norwegian Oil Ministry has awarded 13 groups 34 new offshore areas in the Norwegian Sea under the country's 16th licensing round. Shell won operatorship and 30% of the most sought after tract - 6406/5 in the Haltenbanken. The license holds the President prospect and lies just south of the Kristin Field. TotalFinaElf and Statoil each took 20% in the block and the government retained 30%. Elsewhere in the round, Norsk Hydro won operator rights to three concessions as did BP Amoco. Statoil was offered two operatorships, and Agip, Chevron, EssoMobil, Shell, and TotalFinaElf each got one.

Statoil has made an oil discovery in Norwegian Sea Block 6608/10. Preliminary results indicate that the discovery called Svale could hold a minimum of 60 million recoverable bbl. The company plans to submit a preliminary development plan to authorities with the aim of commencing production within two years. The discovery would be developed as a subsea tieback to the Norne production vessel, some 10 km to the northeast. The well was drilled by the new West Navion drillship and was the vessel's first exploratory well.

Middle East

Samedan made another gas discovery off Israel. The company drilled the Mari-B #1 well to a total depth of 6,830 ft in 795 ft of water as a follow-up to the Noa #1 well eight miles to the west. The well logged approximately 550 ft of gas in one zone. Eighty-nine ft of the zone were perforated and tested gas at the rate of 33 MMcf/d. Samedan estimated the well could possibly produce over 100 MMcf/d on a sustained basis. Samedan operates with 40%. Partners include: Avner Oil Exploration (21.39%), Delek Drilling (23.61%), and RB Mediterranean (15%).

BG is looking for gas off the coast of Palestinian Gaza. The company is in the process of shooting a 1,000 sq km 3D seismic study in the country's waters. BG was granted the first offshore gas exploration license in Gaza in November, which includes a four-year initial exploration phase. The company is planning the first well for later this year.

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