-- ANWR leasing advances in House, Senate Both sides of the 109th Congress have moved closer to authorizing federal oil and natural gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of the budget reconciliation package on Oct. 26.
-- North German tight sands test at promising rates Two European companies are installing surface facilities after a highly deviated well yielded promising gas flow rates from extremely low-permeability Permian Rotliegend sandstone in the North German basin.
-- Verkhnechonsky field development starts The first well has been drilled in Russia's Verkhnechonsky oil and gas field by Prikaspiiskburneft Co. as part of a 3-year, $270 million development project undertaken by VerkhnechonskNefteGaz.
-- Thailand licensing round draws more bids Thailand's energy ministry has received two additional applications for petroleum exploration blocks, raising the total number of applicants in the country's current licensing round to 11 groups and increasing the number of tracts sought to 13 (OGJ Online, Aug 22, 2005).
-- Seismic survey due off Western Australia Karoon Gas Australia Ltd. has let contract to PGS Exploration Ltd. for an 840 sq km 3D survey by the Ramform Victory seismic vessel on its adjoining Browse Basin permits WA-314-P and 315-P off Western Australia (OGJ, Oct. 17, 2005, p. 34).
-- TARC to explore South China Sea blocks China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) has signed a production-sharing contract (PSC) for Block 03/27 and a geophysical agreement for Block 28/20, both in the Pearl River Mouth basin, with privately held Texas American Resources Co. (TARC), Austin.
-- Shell starts seismic survey in Libya Shell Exploration & Production GMBH began a land seismic survey in the coastal Sirte basin near Marsa Al-Brega and hopes to start exploratory drilling in late 2006-early 2007.
-- Pearl to drill in Jasmine area off Thailand Pearl Energy Ltd. of Singapore has let contract to ENSCO Oceanics Co. for use of the ENSCO 107 jack up in a 60-day exploration program scheduled to start in March 2006 on Block B 5/27 in the Gulf of Thailand.
-- Lukoil, PDVSA to study Orinoco belt block Lukoil Overseas Holding Ltd. and the investment division of state-owned Petrόleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) have signed a 3-year agreement to research a section of the Junin Block (formerly Zuata) in the Orinoco oil belt in Anzoategui, eastern Venezuela.
-- Mali's Taoudeni basin due airborne surveys Baraka Petroleum Ltd., Perth, let a contract for $3.7 million in airborne exploration surveys on five blocks in the nonproducing Taoudeni basin in northern Mali.
-- Series of wells possible in Paraguay CDS Oil & Gas Group PLC, London, is preparing to spud the first of what could be a series of exploration wells in nonproducing Paraguay.
-- Sharjah Sky Petroleum Inc., Austin, said agreement is reached on the first two infill well locations to be drilled late this year or in early 2006 in Mubarek oil and gas field in the Persian Gulf off the United Arab Emirates.
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