Drilling/Production news briefs, Oct. 4

Statoil � Fortum � Chiles Offshore � AMFELS � Badr Petroleum � Smedvig

Production from Statoil's Åsgard B platform began Oct. 1 at 7 million cu m/day (MMcmd), which will gradually increase to 18 MMcmd, said Åsgard field partner Fortum Corp. The gas is exported through the Åsgard Transport pipeline to the onshore gas treatment facility at Kårstø.

Chiles Offshore Inc., Houston, said Oct. 2 that it had placed an order to build yet another rig on spec�this one a jack up at AMFELS Inc. shipyard in Brownsville, Tex. AMFELS is a unit of Keppel FELS Energy & Infrastructure Ltd. The $110 million rig will be financed by proceeds from Chiles' recent initial public offering and debt financing raised under a US Maritime Administration guarantee. Chiles has received a commitment letter from Marad that allows up to $81 million of construction and term financing for the rig. Additionally, the commitment letter allows Chiles to raise an additional $83 million in debt financing, should the company exercise its option to order a second jackup rig from AMFELS within 12 months. Chiles has another spec rig being built in Singapore.

Badr Petroleum Co., a joint venture between Royal Dutch/Shell Group unit Shell Egypt and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. has awarded Smedvig ASA a letter of intent for use of its deepwater drillship West Navion. The proposal includes drilling two wells in 1,500 and 1,800 m of water in the eastern Mediterranean Sea with an option for a third well. The estimated contract value for the first two wells, which are expected to take about 60 days to drill, is about $11-12 million, said Smedvig. Start-up of drilling operations is scheduled for sometime between Dec. 15, 2000, and Feb. 1, 2001.

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