Exploration/Development Briefs

Aug. 22, 2011


Patos-Marinza heavy oil field in Albania is producing 13,400 b/d of oil, and steam injection is to start in the last quarter at a pilot thermal program in the southwest part of the field.

Of the 1,750 b/d of reported shut-in production in early July, 800 b/d is back on production and the additional oil inventory available for sale June 30 was sold during the month of July, reflecting record sales of 494,000 bbl. The oil brings Brent price, lately at a 27% premium to WTI crude.

A new service rig was delivered in early August, and another is due for delivery in October.

The vertical delineation well is drilling near total depth. Several cores have been cut, and the rig will spud the first of two horizontal thermal wells once casing has been set in the delineation well. The horizontal wells are targeting the thick Driza 1 sandstone, where visual core inspection shows the zone to have excellent porosity and to be fully saturated with oil.


The Euston-1 well on ATP 999P in the Eromanga basin encountered 32 m of Cretaceous Toolebuc shale and evidence of gas release, said Exoma Energy Ltd., Brisbane.

Fourth well in the 2011 campaign, the well went to 632 m total depth 50 km northwest of Longreach and 50 km northeast of Bessies-1, where Exoma cut 40 m of Toolebuc shale at 883 m with gas shows. Core was recovered across the full Toolebuc section. Shale samples are undergoing gas desorption. The next location is Katherine-1, which will also core the shale and has a deeper conventional oil formation as a secondary target.

Exoma is joint venture operator of ATP 991P, ATP 996P, ATP 999P, ATP 1005P, and ATP 1008P. Exoma has a 50% beneficial interest in ATP 999P and the Euston well. CNOOC Galilee Gas Co. Pty. Ltd. is earning a participating interest by providing the initial $50 million of joint venture outlays on Exoma's five Galilee basin ATPs.

Bengal Energy Ltd., Calgary, will shoot 456 line-km of 2D and 51 sq km of 3D seismic in October on ATP 732 in Australia's Cooper basin to image Permian subcrop anomalies and shallower oil targets.

Meanwhile, an airborne geophysical survey is being contracted to be carried out in October over the Tookanooka astrobleme on the block with a view to imaging the potential of oil and or natural gas reservoirs similar to those seen in other meteorite impact structures in sedimentary basins in many other parts of the world.

Interpreted results all three surveys are expected early in the first calendar quarter of 2012, which should allow the design of the drill program for the initial 100% well in ATP 732 to be finalized shortly thereafter. Pending drilling rig availability, it is expected to spud the initial exploration well in the second quarter.


Frontera Resources Corp., Houston, said it strengthened its balance sheet and plans to launch a new work plan for Mtsare Khevi and Mirzaani oil fields in the Shallow Fields Production Unit in Georgia.

Frontera, with a 100% interest in onshore Block 12 in the underexplored Kura basin, sees the potential to increase production to as much as 5,000 b/d from 225 b/d (OGJ, Nov. 26, 2007, p. 32). The company promised to provide more detail next month.


Premier Oil PLC, whose Belut Laut-1 exploratory well on the Tunu block off Indonesia is to be plugged, said the well has confirmed the potential for hydrocarbons in the Oligocene section in the Nam Con Son basin.

The well went to planned TD of 4,948 m. Oil shows with high gas readings were reported from 4,740 m throughout a gross 155-m Oligocene sandstone interval, but logs indicated that the sandstones at this depth were of poor porosity.

Premier said the subsurface interpretation will be refocused to prospects at shallower depths where good reservoir properties are preserved updip from proven source rocks. Premier has identified at least five such prospects in the Tuna acreage and in adjoining Block 07/03 off Vietnam and plans to drill the first in the second half of 2012.

Meanwhile, the CS-N2P development well in Block 12W intersected the shallow part of a previously undrilled fault terrace to the northwest of Chim Sao field. Logging while drilling data indicate the well encountered a 20-m oil column in an independent closure in good quality Upper Dua sandstones. The plan is to appraise this new accumulation as a tieback opportunity via the CS-N1P development well.


Niko Resources Ltd. will buy a further 12% interest in the Qara Dagh block in Iraqi Kurdistan from Vast Exploration Inc. for $9 million and the three partners plan to deepen the Qara Dagh well by 250 m to 4,150 m.

Vast will use the $9 million to pay for outstanding amounts due Niko under the joint operating agreement and to fund future expenses related to the well deepening. Interests after the transaction are Niko 49%, Vast 25%, Groundstar Resources Ltd. 6%, and the Kurdistan Regional Government 20% carried.

The well, the first exploratory well on the block, has confirmed the presence of an active petroleum system on the block but failed to establish commercial rates in the upper zones. Deepening will target other Cretaceous reservoirs.


Tethys Petroleum Ltd. has boosted production capacity at its Doris oil field in western Kazakhstan to 2,000-2,500 b/d with the opening of facilities that will turn out refinery grade crude oil for better margins.

Capacity will rise to 4,000 b/d in the fourth quarter of 2011 when a rail loading facilities goes in service, halving the present trucking distance. The production facility and rail terminal are designed for potentially much greater production rates as the company drills more development wells.


African Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (APCL), Perth, has spud a wildcat on the Apalis prospect on Block LB-09 off Liberia, where the company is funded for five more exploratory wells.

The Maersk Deliverer semisubmersible is drilling the well on a prospect that may contain multiple sand reservoirs in the Upper Cretaceous Maastrichtian and Turonian and in the Aptian and Albian, said APCL, which has 100% interest in LB-08 and LB-09. Some of the potential reservoirs have a well-developed 3D seismic class 3/4 AVO response similar to those reported for nearby fins in Sierra Leone and Ghana.

After drilling Apalis, the rig will be released to Lukoil Overseas Cote d'Ivoire E&P Ltd., Vanco Cote d'Ivoire Ltd., and AP Moller-Maersk to drill two wells before returning to APCL for one more well. The swap of drilling slots with Lukoil and Vanco raises the flexibility of APCL's two to three-well 2012 drilling program by allowing the rig to be reserved for the deepest-water targets.

While the rig is working for the other operators, APCL will integrate the Apalis geological and operational information for better planning of the 2012 wells. APCL plans to contract a second deepwater rig in 2012 to accelerate drilling plans in the West African Transform Margin.

Block SL-03 off Sierra Leone is immediately west of the Anadarko Venus and Mercury discoveries. The Geo-Caribbean 3D seismic vessel is shooting 2,500 sq km of 3D seismic on SL-03. Further 3D seismic is planned for 2011-12 in West Africa.


Sunwing Energy Ltd. has spudded the first exploratory well on Block XVI in the Kherulen subbasin of the Nyalga basin in Mongolia 100 km southeast of Ulaanbaatar.

The N16-1E-1A well is projected to 2,500 m as an oil test on a 32 sq km structure. Daqing Exploration Co., which has the drilling contract, has drilled to 437 m and cemented surface casing. The 12,679 sq km block contains parts of several subbasins. Sunwing, a subsidiary of Ivanhoe Energy Inc., Calgary, plans to drill a second exploratory well on a separate structure and has an option to drill as many as three more wildcats.


Porto Energy Corp., The Woodlands, Tex., plans to spud the second well in a two to four well exploratory program in a Jurassic reef trend the Lusitanian basin of Portugal after plugging its first well.

The SPC-1 well in the Torres Vedras concession went to 2,064 m measured total depth. The well found a reservoir and working petroleum system but appears to have failed due to ineffective seal capacity. Evaluation of drilling and open-hole log data indicates it had oil shows, but the well did not encounter commercial accumulations of hydrocarbons has been plugged and abandoned.

The company is preparing to move the rig to the SPC-2 location to test a second Jurassic reef prospect at 1,950 m. It targets a well-defined four-way closure trap in the reef as delineated by the company's 120 sq km 3D seismic survey.

Through its subsidiary, Mohave Oil & Gas Corp., Porto has working interests in five concessions totaling 1,444,152 net acres in the Lusitanian basin (OGJ, Dec. 8, 1997, p. 67).


International Petroleum Ltd., Perth, said it gauged oil at a second discovery well at its Krasnoleninskiy project in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region of Western Siberia, Russia, and will stimulate both wells in January 2012.

Well No. 1 flowed 35 b/d of oil, natural, establishing commerciality from the J2-3 formation at 2,647-65.5 m. Earlier this month, Well No. 2 flowed 38 b/d, natural, from the J4 formation at 2,740-45 m. The company is testing other prospective intervals in both wells.


Tethys Petroleum Ltd. is discussing a farmout with several parties on its 35,000 sq km Bokhtar contract area in the Afghan-Tajik basin in southwestern Tajikistan, the country's first production sharing contract.

The East Olimtoi EOL09 exploratory well has reached total depth of 3,765 m in the Akdzhar formation and is being logged in the Bukhara and Akdzhar sections and the lower part of the overlying Alai formation. Initial results from the raw logs indicate some zones of interest in the Bukhara limestone, but further data gathering and analysis is required.

The Alai flowed oil and gas to surface during drilling, and logs indicate several hydrocarbon-bearing zones with no evidence of an oil-water contact. The well is exploring an attractive salt-induced structure south of Kulob, 10 km northwest of the Afghan border, and 75 km southeast of Beshtentak oil field.

To the west, the Persea-1 exploratory well primarily targets the Bukhara limestone in a four-way dip closed structure with the overlying Alai as a potential secondary target. Persea is at 606 m running surface casing. Planned total depth is 2,700 m. The well is near Kurgon-Teppa and just northwest of Kyzyltumshuk field.

A gravity gradiometry and aeromagnetic survey covering the entire PSC is more than one third complete.


Progress Energy Resources Corp., Calgary, has drilled and completed three horizontal, 100% working interest Cretaceous Dunvegan oil wells in the Northwest Alberta Deep Basin since the fourth quarter of 2010.

The first well, a 2,750-m test, averaged 250 b/d of 40° gravity oil on a 30-day test and is still exceeding 100 b/d without water after 7 months. Progress' second well, 39 km northwest, averaged of 355 b/d for 30 days after frac and continues to exceed 300 b/d after 3 months. Just placed on production, the company's third test is expected to average 300 b/d the first month.

Assuming four wells per section, Progress has identified more than 50 Dunvegan horizontal follow-up locations on acreage where it has deeper gas production. The company is evaluating another 20 net prospective sections of land in the Deep Basin, where it holds 280,000 net acres.

The Dunvegan formation is a pervasive package of stacked marine and fluvial Cretaceous sands ranging in thickness from 1-m units to more than 25 m of reservoir.

Detailed in-house geologic mapping has illustrated several productive fairways across the company's lands. Three more wells, at an all-in cost of $4 million/well, are to be drilled in 2011 with the potential to accelerate the program in 2012.


Buccaneer Energy Ltd., Sydney, has signed a contract with Alaska Pipeline Co. and Enstar Natural Gas Co. to sell natural gas from Kenai Loop field onshore Cook Inlet.

The contract is subject to regulatory approvals. Annual weighted average price is $6.03/Mcf.

Enstar will be responsible for transportation costs after the receipt point and absorb the current 21¢/Mcf pipeline tariff. The price is split seasonally and has a March-November floor of $5.96, a December-February floor of $7.06, and a year-round ceiling of $10.

Deliveries at nonfirm daily auction for peaking demand are to start in December when facilities are built.

Enstar's commitment to acquire gas at contract rates begins when the Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage facility begins service, set for April 2012.

As part of the contract, Buccaneer committed to spud a second well at Kenai Loop by Nov. 1, and a third by Nov. 1, 2013.

Buccaneer is on track to spud its second well this quarter and anticipates drilling a third well in April-May 2012.


Ultra Petroleum Corp. acquired nearly 100,000 acres targeting liquids in the Niobrara formation in the Denver-Julesburg basin in Colorado.

Ultra plans to drill and complete several Niobrara exploratory wells this winter. Inherent reservoir characteristics indicate significant resource potential in the leasehold, Ultra said.

The company said its new ventures team evaluated more than 125 projects to identify opportunities to complement its long-life, high-returning assets in Wyoming and Pennsylvania, and it chose the Niobrara as a potential third core area.


A well in Grady County, Okla., represents a 25-mile southeast extension of the Anadarko basin Cana Woodford horizontal oil play, said Continental Resources Inc., Enid.

Continental is drilling an offset to the Lambakis 1-11H extension well, which has been producing since late May and continues to flow at 4.2 MMcfd of 1,350-Btu gas and 110 b/d of oil with a shallow decline. Its initial rate was 5.4 MMcfd and 160 b/d.

The well, completed in 10 stages over 4,200 ft at 15,000 ft true vertical depth, proves up a further 15,000 net acres in the southern part of the company's 90,000 net acre Southeast Cana holding.

The lateral was landed in a siliceous zone that is thick in the southern part of Southeast Cana and may present multiple horizons for drilling, Continental said.

The well's rich gas brought a realized price in May of $6.25/MMcf, compared with a Nymex posted price of $3.95, the company noted.

Continental is running 11 operated rigs in the northwest part of the Cana Woodford play, two in Southeast Cana, and one in the Arkoma basin Woodford play and plans to hike its operated rig count by yearend in the Anadarko Woodford, where it has a 270,000 net acres.

The company averaged 4,031 b/d of oil equivalent in the quarter ended June 30, 50% higher than the previous quarter.

Recent drilling times have been 40 days, 43% faster than the 2010 average, and recent completions are in Custer, Blaine, and Dewey counties.

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