Drilling/Production news briefs, Aug. 1

British Gas Trinidad & Tobago � J. Ray McDermott � BG ... BP � Transocean Sedco Forex � Derek Resources � Suncor Energy

British Gas Trinidad & Tobago Ltd. has awarded a contract to J. Ray McDermott SA to design, fabricate, and commission BG PLC's Hibiscus project, an offshore natural gas development in 500 ft of water near the northern coast of Trinidad. Terms of the contract weren't disclosed. Hibiscus is expected to produce 400 MMcfd of gas. Workers at J. Ray McDermott's fabrication facilities near Morgan City, La., have started to erect a four-leg, eight-skirt-pile steel jacket and construct topsides that will allow for simultaneous drilling and production activities. The topsides will consist of a six-leg, three-level deck with a combined weight of 4,000 tons. Fabrication is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2001 with hook-up and commissioning slated for fall 2001.

BP has agreed to extend its contract on the Transocean Sedco Forex Inc. semisubmersible drilling rig Transocean Leader for 1 year. The extension is expected to begin in March 2001 and cost the multinational operator $45.6 million. BP still holds an option to renew the contract. The rig is currently operating for BP west of the Shetland Islands in the North Atlantic.

Derek Resources Corp., Vancouver, BC, has finished drilling the Derek #2-I well on its LAK Ranch Oil Project in Weston County, Wyo. The measured length of the well was 3,210 ft. The well started vertically and was then turned to enter the oil-bearing Newcastle sandstone target horizontally. The well encountered good reservoir sands, similar to previous well Derek 1-P, says Derek, and a slotted liner has been installed in the horizontal section. Completion of this second well finalizes the drilling of Derek's first steam-assisted gravity drainage well pair on the property. The company is now working to complete surface facilities on the site and expects to begin production from the project soon.

Work resumed July 31 at a $2.4 billion (Can.) Suncor Energy Ltd. oilsands expansion project in Northern Alberta after a work stoppage July 26 by about 500 trade workers who blocked access to the site. The worker action was not sanctioned by the building trades unions and was declared illegal by the Alberta Labour Relations Board. Some workers said they were objecting to nonunion workers on the site, while others complained about living conditions at camps set up for workers. Suncor said there was a site-wide agreement in place with the building trades permitting nonunion hiring. The company met with contractors and trade union officials to discuss the concerns. Millennium Construction Contractors, representing construction companies, cancelled work at the site July 27 after the action by workers. The plant expansion project is scheduled for completion in late 2002.

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