Chevron acquired 15% interest in the 1,300 sq mile Mer Profonde Sud deepwater exploration block off the Congo from Elf. The block lies adjacent to Chevron's deepwater Block 14 offshore Angola and Elf's Haute Mer permit offshore Congo. Water depths for the block are 3,300-6,600 ft. Elf will retain a 25% interest and remains the operator for the block. Elf also released 15% interest in the neighboring Mer Profonde Nord block to Marathon. The block lies in water depths of 500-7,000 ft and is operated by Esso. A well is planned on the block later this year.
Agip has ceded 25% of its interest in three exploration blocks off Gabon to Petronas Carigali Overseas. The three blocks, Mpolo, Chaillu, and Meboun, are located in the southern region of the country's deepwater. Agip said the move was part of the parent company ENI's plan to rationalize their portfolio of exploration rights.
Elf signed a technical evaluation agreement for the deep offshore Mozambique channel off the Zambeze delta with the Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos. The agreement calls for Elf to carry out seismic and geophysical synthesis studies. The block lies in water depths of 1,800-3,000 meters. Work will commence in the coming months.
Energy Africa announced plans to spud its first exploratory well offshore Angolaby the end of June. The company operates Block 7, previously owned by Elf. Elf has drilled five wells in the southern region of the block in the Kwanza Basin without success. However, Energy plans on targeting untapped geological layers.
Elf pledged an investment of $2.8 billion into Nigeria's oil sector this year. The company plans to concentrate chiefly on the Amenam Field to ensure production startup by 2002. But the company also is focusing on the Obite Gas Project designed to produce 200 MMcf/d of gas and bring the Ofun Field onstream.
Ghana has experienced more bad luck. The most recent well drilled in the country's offshore area was not commercial. Hunt drilled the WCTP-2X well on the Sanzule prospect in 2,934 ft water depths in Cape Three Points. The well was drilled to 10,785 ft and encountered a thin non-commercial oil column in a sand depth of 9,160 ft. Subsequently, the well was plugged and abandoned.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy of Venezuela said that ExxonMobil has expressed interest in a heavy oil project in the country's offshore area. ExxonMobil is reportedly in talks with Shell, Mitsubishi, and state-run PDVSA to restart an LNG project off the country's eastern coast, which was ended due to concerns over profitability. Venezuela has been promoting the project in an attempt to expand its natural gas industry. The region in which the project lies contains an estimated 270 billion bbl of recoverable oil.
Anadarko plans to spend $100 million this year for development of fields in the Gulf of Mexico. Around $43 million of the allocation will be spent on continuing construction of production platforms for the Hickory and Tanzanite subsalt discoveries and the remainder aimed at development drilling. Initial production will begin in the fourth quarter.
Chevron and Shell are partnering to drill two exploration wells in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Under the agreement, Shell will drill a well on Chevron's Roy prospect in 4,800 ft water depth in Mississippi Canyon Block 988 next month, and another well on Chevron's Hurricane prospect in 2,000 ft water depth in Ewing Bank Block 1010 in July. In addition, Chevron has signed on with Texaco to drill on the Poseidon prospect in 4,900 ft water depths in Mississippi Canyon Block 772 using the Discoverer Deep Seas drillship contracted by Shell. Drilling of this well will begin in May in 4,900 ft water depths.
BP Amoco, Spirit Energy 76, and BHP said their appraisal well on the Mad Dog prospect in Green Canyon Block 782 in the Gulf of Mexico encountered 250 ft of oil pay in zones that appear to correspond to those penetrated by the discovery well. The appraisal well was drilled to 20,268 ft. A sidetrack to the main appraisal well was also drilled to 21,560 ft. Well results are under evaluation. The partners plan further appraisal drilling to define the size and extent of the field.
Spirit Energy 76 set a new all-time production record on the Vermilion 39 field. A redevelopment program, which began last year, allowed production of the 50-year old field to peak at 17,500 b/d at year-end. This was 10,000 boe/d higher than when the program began in April 1999 and rates are expected to increase during the first quarter. The field is the second oldest field in the Gulf of Mexico and has produced over 285 million boe since production began in 1951.
Production from Apache's Stag Field off Northwest Australia has surpassed 23,000 b/d of oil. Stag lies in 150 ft of water and is now producing from eight wells and four water injection wells. Apache recently added two new producing wells and installed new pumps and water injectors to increase production from its 1999 average of 10,000 b/d.
TotalFina has begun production of the Peciko gas field on the Mahakam permit off East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Production began at 11 MMcm/d of gas and reached 22 MMcm/d in January. Gas from the field is treated onshore at the Senipah terminal and sent to the Bontang liquefaction plant. TotalFina holds 50% interest in the field with 50% partner Inpex of Japan.
Fletcher Challenge Energy has spudded the Pohokura-1 well offshore Taranaki, New Zealand. The well is targeting average potential gas reserves of 430 bcf within the Kapuni D and F sands. Fletcher is using the Ensco 50 jackup for the drilling and is targeting a depth of 3,900 meters. If the reserves are confirmed, the field could supply New Zealand's gas demand for two years.
PGS has entered into an agreement with Ranger Oil to perform an extended well test for the continuing appraisal of the Kyle Field in the North Sea. The test will be performed by PGS' Petrojarl I FPSO. The test will begin in either May or June and is expected to last four to five months. Following the test, the vessel will undergo a standard five-year class survey and a life extension upgrade.
Operator BG and partners Talisman and Paladin Resources have received governmental approval for the development of the Blake Field in the outer Moray Firth. The development calls for the field to produce from eight wells using a subsea development tied back to the Ross Field, which produces to the Bleo Holm FPSO. Reserves for the field are estimated at 50-75 million bbl of oil, with a field life of 14 years. Production is expected to begin in August of next year at 40,000 b/d of oil.