Exploration/Development news briefs, Dec. 17

Nation Energy Inc., Vancouver, has agreed to farm into Olympia Energy Inc.'s interests in the Smoky area of Alberta. Nation will pay for 25% of the cost to drill and complete a 4,800-m well. It will earn a 15% after-payout interest in the project. Drilling costs are estimated at $11 million (Can.) and completion costs at $1 million.

PanCanadian Energy Corp. has formed joint ventures in the Gulf of Mexico with ChevronTexaco Corp. and Unocal Corp. With ChevronTexaco, PanCanadian will participate in four exploratory wells to earn a 25% interest in 71 blocks. By participating in the Ponza well on Keathley Canyon 774 with Unocal, which was non-commercial, PanCanadian earned a 25% interest in 16 blocks in southern Keathley Canyon.

Norwegian company Norsk Hydro AS has found oil in two zones with exploration well 34/8-12 S on the Visund South prospect in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Transocean Arctic drilled the well to 3,160 m TVD and completed it in the Triassic. It was not tested and was plugged. Partners in production license 120 include TotalFinaElf SA, Conoco Inc., Petoro, and Statoil ASA.

Argosy Energy International has signed an association contract with Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol for the Rio Magdalena area, said Aviva Petroleum Inc., Dallas, which owns 30% of Argosy. The Rio Magdalena contract covers 222 sq miles in the Upper Magdalena region of Colombia. It has 6-year exploration and 22-year development periods.

German company Preussag Energie GMBH will fund the drilling of an exploration well for New Zealand company Indo-Pacific Energy Ltd. The Huinga Deep prospect is on PEP 38716 in Taranaki basin in New Zealand. Preussag will carry Indo-Pacific to an agreed expenditure cap and earn an 11.5% interest in the Huinga-1B well.

Indian government-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp. has found an oil and gas bearing structure off the western shore, about 6 km east of Vasai gas field. ONGC estimates reserves of more than 65 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

ONGC has also found pay with a 2,200-m exploratory well at Kadi Taluka, 90 km from Ahmedabad, Gujarat state. The operator lost control of the well last week while testing a second zone at 1,975 m.

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