Apache tests Exmouth basin well off W. Australia

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, June 22 -- Houston independent Apache Corp. has completed a successful test of Theo 3-H, the first horizontal well at the Van Gogh development in the Exmouth basin 1,175 km off Western Australia.

Theo 3-H was drilled in 1,205 ft of water to a MD of 10,598 ft. It cut a 4,554-ft-long horizontal section in the Cretaceous Top Barrow formation.

The well flowed 9,694 b/d of oil on test. Its flow rate was restricted by downhole and surface equipment limitations, Apache said.

The company plans to drill 18 additional long-reach horizontal laterals at Van Gogh later this year, with a target of first production by the end of first quarter 2009. At that time, the field is expected to add 20,000 b/d of oil to the company's net production.

The $500 million Van Gogh development will use a floating production, storage, and offloading vessel with a processing capacity of 63,000 b/d and storage capacity of 620,000 bbl. Apache operates the development and owns 52.5% interest in the project, while Tokyo-based Inpex Corp. owns 47.5%.

"The Van Gogh development is one of six projects in Apache's core growth areas of Australia, Canada, and Egypt that are projected to add aggregate production of 108,000 boe/d over the next 4 years," said Apaches Pres. and Chief Executive G. Steven Farris.

Other projects
The Pyrenees development, in which Apache holds 28.57% interest, is expected to add 20,000 b/d of oil to the company's net production as well during 2009. It is anticipated that this field, operated by BHP Billiton Ltd. (71.43%), will receive the formal go-ahead by the end of this month.

Apache currently is drilling the Julimar East-1 appraisal well 3.6 miles northeast of the Julimar-1 gas discovery, which flowed at a combined rate of 85 MMcfd on tests of two Triassic channel sands. Julimar East-1 will appraise the channels tested in the discovery well and will target additional deeper Triassic sands.

"Julimar is one of the 10 high-potential prospects and plays on the 'hit parade' of our 2007 exploration program in Apache's core growth areas," Farris said.

Apache holds interests in 11.9 million acres off Australia. An increase in exploration activity as well as development of Van Gogh and Pyrenees have increased Apache's capital program in Australia to $500 million in 2007 from $187 million in 2006.

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