Oil exploratory wells span California basins

Several exploratory wells are drilling or about to spud seeking unconventional and heavy oil resources in and around established California oil fields.

New Gulf Energy LLC will earn interests from Neon Energy Ltd., Perth, and INNEX Energy LLC, Plano, Tex., by drilling and fully funding three wells in Kings County, Calif.

The first well, designed to test the Monterey formation in the San Joaquin basin in a southern extension of Kettleman North Dome field, spudded on Sept. 2, 2011. Planned total depth is 7,630 ft. Each well is expected to cost $3.5 million.

Meanwhile, Neon Energy spudded on Sept. 10 at a 100% owned well designed to test a possible eastern extension of giant San Ardo heavy oil field in the Salinas basin in Monterey County.

Also, Trio Petroleum LLC is to spud in late September at Deadman’s Gulch, a moderate risk oil prospect 6 km east of Neon’s North San Ardo field.

Neon also operates a planned 15,500-ft geological wildcat about to spud in the western part of giant Paloma oil and gas field in Kern County. Seven target sandstone and shale zones in the Miocene are expected beginning at 10,000 ft.

The well is on a 1,400-acre 3D seismic prospect in which Solimar Energy Ltd., Melbourne, has a 25% interest. Dry hole cost is $4.9 million.

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