Apache discovers oil in three Egypt Western Desert basins

By OGJ editors

Apache Corp. has gauged oil and-or gas discoveries in three basins in northwestern Egypt, including one discovery that established the deepest production to date in the Western Desert producing province.

The exploratory successes extend the company’s production base to the northeast at the North Ras Qattara concession and to the southwest in the Siwa concession. Apache noted that its operations are in the most remote areas of Egypt that have oil and gas production and that it averaged running 26 rotary rigs/day in the quarter ended Mar. 31.

In the Alamein basin, the NRQ 3151-1X discovery on the North Ras Qattara concession test-flowed at a combined 1,625 b/d of oil and 18.7 MMcfd of gas from two intervals in the Jurassic Lower Safa formation. This is the deepest production established to date in the Western Desert producing province, Apache said.

Logging confirmed 100 ft of pay sands in multiple zones, including the Cretaceous Upper Bahariya, the Jurassic Zahra, the Upper Safa, and the Lower Safa. Appraisal drilling is planned for later in 2013, along with an offset Jurassic play and a shallower Bahariya well. Apache has a 70% operated interest in the concession with IPR Inc., Irving, Tex., holding 30%.

In the Faghur basin, the SIWA L-1X discovery on the Siwa concession tested at 2,041 b/d of oil from the lowermost portion of a thick Paleozoic Desouky pay sand. The well is 4 miles south of the basin’s closest producing well.

The well encountered 123 ft of hydrocarbon pay in the Cretaceous Alam el Buieb 3E, AEB-5, Jurassic Safa, and Desouky zones. Production is to start after the government approves a development lease.

In addition to extending the Faghur basin’s productive fairway, the discovery also sets up a number of analogous prospects for drilling later in 2013. Apache is operator with a 50% working interest, and state-owned Tharwa Petroleum Co. has 50%.

In the Matruh basin, the NTRK-G-1X exploratory well on the North Tarek concession encountered 60 net ft of Upper Safa hydrocarbon pay and tested at 14.8 MMcfd of gas and 1,522 b/d of condensate per day. This Jurassic Upper Safa discovery extends the productive fairway found 2 miles to the northeast.

Khalda Petroleum Co., the joint venture operating company owned by Apache and Egyptian General Petroleum Corp., expects to complete a gas gathering system in the third quarter of 2013. Apache has a 100% working interest in the concession.

Apache said it has a deep backlog of drilling opportunities and that the stacked-pay potential on its Western Desert concessions reduces the risks associated with drilling wells in new areas. Exploratory wells there can be relatively inexpensive, with the NRQ 3151-1X, SIWA L-1X, and the NTRK-G-X costing $7.6 million, $3.7 million, and $4.4 million, respectively, to drill, case, and test.

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