Exploration/Development news briefs, Dec. 7

US President Bill Clinton created a nature reserve to protect coral reef ecosystems off the Hawaiian Islands Monday. It puts 34 million hectares of ocean off limits to oil, gas, and mineral exploration and production. There is no oil or gas-related activity in that area, said a US Minerals Management Service spokeswoman Wednesday.

Westfort Energy Ltd. said Patterson Drilling Inc. has begun drilling the Harold Karges 18-3 No. 1 well in Pelahatchie field in Rankin County, Miss. The well targets the Jurassic-age Norphlet sandstone at 17,000 ft. Westfort said its goal is to reestablish production previously found by Shell Oil Co. in the 1960s. The well was shut in due to production problems that Westfort said are now handled routinely in the industry. It had produced more than 2,000 b/d of oil and more than 2 MMcfd of gas. Patterson Petroleum Inc., a subsidiary of Patterson Drilling has a 33.33% working interest in the well down to the top of the Norphlet formation. Westfort retained 100% of the Norphlet formation working interest.

Panaco Inc., Houston, said it completed two offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The East Breaks block 1107 No. A-12 well is producing 3 MMcfd of gas and 10 b/d of condensate on a 20/64-in. choke with flowing tubing pressure of 1,650 psi. The producing interval is 6,546-6,626 ft. The West Delta No. 32 well is producing 2.2 MMcfd on a 12/64-in. choke with 1,225 psi flowing tubing pressure.

Millennium Energy Inc., Calgary, will farm into four sections totaling 2,560 acres in the Beaverhill Lake area east of Edmonton, Alta. Millennium has an option to drill a well before Mar. 28. It will then have a rolling option to drill up to three additional wells, each within 75 days of the rig release date for the previous well. Last month, Millenium acquired a 50% operated working interest in the Weirhill area of southeast Saskatchewan and plans to drill a horizontal well in January.

Swift Energy Co., Houston, said the Rimu-B2 well in the Taranaki basin in New Zealand flowed up to 1,384 b/d of 46� crude and 9.4 MMcfd of gas from a 32/64-in. choke with 2,389 psi of flowing tubing pressure. The open hole test included sections of both the Upper Tariki sandstone and the Upper Rimu limestone at 11,221-11,647 ft.

Rocky Mountain Gas Inc. (RMG), a subsidiary of US Energy Corp. and Crested Corp. of Riverton, Wyo., has signed a letter of intent with Suncor Energy America Inc., a subsidiary of Suncor Energy Inc., to explore and develop 125,000 acres of coalbed methane properties in Montana. The acreage, known as the Castle Rock Project, is equally owned by RMG and Quaneco LLC, and is located in the Powder River basin of southeastern Montana. Definitive agreements and closing of the transaction are scheduled for Jan. 15, 2001

Beta Oil & Gas Inc. and partners Parallel Petroleum Corp. and Pease Oil & Gas Co. have found pay with two wells in the expanded Yegua/Frio trend in Jackson County, Tex. The Ganado LF-1 well was completed in the Frio and is producing 1.8 MMcfd of gas and 10 b/d of condensate with flowing tubing pressure of 2,460 psi. The BWC F-1A, also completed in the Frio, is producing 800 Mcfd of gas with tubing pressure of 1,640 psi. Beta owns a 20% interest in the Ganado well and a 12.5% working interest in the BWC well.

Statoil reported Thursday that the Transocean Arctic spudded Dec. 5 the first wildcat in the North Cape basin of the Barents Sea off northern Norway. The well is in 288 m of water on Production License Area 202. The rig will drill to 2,800 m. Statoil was awarded PL 202 in Norway's 14B licensing round in September 1993. Statoil holds a 25% interest in the license. Its partners are the state's direct financial interest (SDFI) with 30%, Amerada Hess Corp. with 25%, and Norsk Hydro ASA with 20%.

Miller Petroleum Inc., Huntsville, Tenn., said Purkey No. 2 well in the upper zones of the Swan Creek gas field in Hancock County, Tenn., tested 100 b/d of oil. The well reached 2,566 ft in the Trenton formation.

CanArgo Energy Corp. said Monday it found a new oil zone in the Ninotsminda area of the Republic of Georgia. Well N97 tested Sarmatian sandstones at 1,900-1,923 m at 515 b/d of 42� oil through a 20/64-in. choke with flowing tubing head pressure of 485 psi. The company said the well is the first oil test of the Sarmatian in the Ninotsminda area, and has proved a new reservoir above the currently productive Middle Eocene zone.

Trans Energy Inc. spudded the Nolan No. 1 well in Tyler County, W.Va., Tuesday. The rig will drill to TD of 5,150 ft. Chairman and CEO Loren E. Bagley stated, "This is the fifth well of a seven well, year end re-entry program. We anticipate having this well drilled, completed, and in production by Dec. 29."

Houston Exploration Co., Houston, began production of 10 MMcfd of gas and 150 b/d of condensate from Galveston block 389. The well was drilled to 10,400 ft and is producing from two sands at 7,700 ft and 8,780 ft. Houston Exploration operates the well with 55% working interest.

Houston-based Esenjay Exploration Inc. said Runnells No. 3 wildcat in the deep Frio Trend of Matagorda County, Tex., flowed 22 MMcfd and 494 b/d of condensate from 168 ft of pay in four zones. Flowing tubing pressure was 9,300 psi through a 21/64-in. choke. After encountering higher than anticipated reservoir pressures, Esenjay discontinued drilling at 14,505 ft, short of the 15,000 ft target. Esenjay is operator with 34%, Samedan Oil Corp. has 24%, Santos USA Corp. has 30%, and several other parties hold the balance.

Kerr-McGee Corp., Oklahoma City, Okla., says initial logging results of the Rubicon No. 1 well on block WA 278-P off Australia in the Timor Sea indicate 100 ft of hydrocarbon pay. Evaluation is ongoing. The well, in 235 ft of water, reached 5,795 ft. The first well on the block, Prometheus No. 1, found 180 net ft of gas-bearing reservoir in Permian age sandstones, said Kerr-McGee. Kerr-McGee NW Shelf Australia Energy Pty. Ltd. operates the block with 39% interest; PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd. holds 39%; TAP Oil Ltd. Co., 12%; and SK Corp., 10%.

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