Woodside-led group inks new E&P agreement in Libya

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Dec. 4 -- The Libyan National Oil Corp. (NOC) signed an exploration and production-sharing agreement (PSA) in Tripoli in November with a consortium consisting of Woodside Energy Ltd. subsidiary Woodside Energy (NA) Ltd., Hellenic Petroleum SA of Greece, and Repsol Exploración Murzuq SA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Madrid-based Repsol- YPF SA.

The agreement covers a period of 30 years and includes five onshore exploration blocks in the Sirte basin of northern Libya and one onshore block in the Murzuq basin in western Libya. The cost to the JV is about $102 million.

The working agreement requires geological studies, seismic acquisition, and the drilling of 13 exploratory wells within an initial 6 year exploration phase. It also covers a 3 year feasibility study for development of remote Atchan field in the Murzuq basin, with an option for a 3 year appraisal and development phase. The consortium also agreed to jointly market any commercial quantities of gas discovered.

Woodside, which is operator, has a 45% interest in the PSA; Repsol-YPF has 35%; and Hellenic Petroleum 20%.

"Libya is one of the world's most prolific oil and gas provinces, with proven reserves of about 29.5 billion bbl of oil and 46.4 tcf of gas," said Woodside's new-ventures director Agu Kantsler.

"This agreement will provide Woodside and its partners with access to 20,000 sq km of highly attractive acreage with excellent oil and gas potential in two basins which, together, have an undiscovered potential of 35 billion bbl," he said.

Kantsler said several of the world's major international oil and gas companies, including Repsol, Agip SPA of Italy, Total SA of France, Wintershall AG of Germany, and Petro-Canada are active in Libya.

Repsol-YPF's production
Separately, Repsol-YPF and RWE AG of Germany also were awarded new exploration contracts recently. Repsol-YPF reached an agreement this summer for six new blocks.

Repsol-YPF currently produces 200,000 b/d from the NC-115 block in Libya, where Repsol-YPF-operated giant El Sharara field is located. Recently a new discovery was made at that field in the N structure. The company also operates Blocks NC-186, NC-187 and NC-190, all in the Murzuq basin, on behalf of a consortium including OMV AG of Austria, Total, and Saga Petroleum Mabruk of Norway (OGJ Online, Aug. 19, 2002).

Ten exploratory wells have been drilled in Block NC-186, where proven reserves of 350 million bbl of crude oil have been found.

Repsol-YPF began production in Field A in late October, and development of Structure D, recently approved by NOC, is in progress. By early 2005, oil production from these two structures is expected to reach 75,000 b/d.

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