Exploration/Development Briefs

May 28, 2012


Argentina's Mendoza Province has awarded Wintershall Energia SA and Total Austral SA 50-50 interest in an exploration permit for the Area Ranquil Norte. The block covers 2,232 sq km in the southernmost part of the province.

Since 2002 Wintershall Energia has performed field and laboratory work across the block, including geologic mapping, geochemical analysis, geological modeling, and 2D seismic interpretation. These evaluations indicate that Ranquil Norte has potential to explore and develop conventional and shale gas and shale oil reservoirs.

In March, Wintershall Energía was awarded the 956 sq km Cuenca Neuquina V exploration permit just north of Ranquil Norte.


HRT Oil & Gas drillstem tested subcommercial amounts of 41° gravity oil at the 1-HRT-6-AM well on Block SOL-T-170 in the Solimoes basin in northwestern Brazil.

The well reached a final depth of 3,384 m, and preliminary results indicated oil and gas shows in Devonian reservoirs, one 4 m thick and one 8 m thick, both with low permeability. Both were tested and confirmed the block's light oil potential. The oil has geochemical characteristics to that produced at Urucu field.

Based on recent seismic data, HRT has mapped other prospects with oil potential on Block 170 that could be drilled once ongoing studies are completed. The company also intends to submit to ANP this year an evaluation plan that covers Block 170 and several other blocks in which the company expects to reevaluate the potential of the reservoirs found in the HRT-1 and HRT-6 wells.

Meanwhile, drilling of wells HRT-7D and HRT-8 should be concluded by June 30. Subject to final results, HRT Oil & Gas and TNK-Brasil "will have yet another important step in their natural gas monetization project and in the production of liquids (with the potential extended well test for condensate at Block SOL-T-194)," HRT Oil & Gas said.

Structures at the Arua cluster on blocks 148, 149, and 172 will be drilled early in the 2012 third quarter. The seismic campaign was concluded with success in January 2012 and data are processed and mapped.

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast formally granted Rialto Energy Ltd., Perth, an exclusive exploitation area on Gazelle field on offshore Block CI-202 with the right to produce hydrocarbons for 25 years.

A three-well drilling campaign is under way at Gazelle. The P3 development well was spudded in March 2012. The program is aimed at converting the 58 million bbl of oil equivalent of gross mean contingent resources to reserves and to test the Chouette oil prospect, which could contain a gross mean prospective resource of 84 million bbl.


CAMAC Energy Inc. said it signed production-sharing contracts on two newly created deepwater blocks off Kenya in addition to two Lamu basin land blocks previously awarded.

CAMAC, Houston, will be operator with 90% interest in all four PSCs. The government has a 10% carried interest prior to designation of any commercial discovery. CAMAC expects an indigenous company to take a minority interest.

Deepwater blocks L27 and L28 cover a combined 21,170 sq km just east of deepwater blocks L11A and L11B operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Land Block L1B is in the Lamu basin, and Block L16 is in the Lamu basin transition zone. L16 is bounded on the east by Block L8, operated by Apache Corp., and is just northwest of Block L9, operated by Ophir Energy PLC.

During the initial exploration phase under each contract, CAMAC will be conducting surveys, acquiring and interpreting 2D and 3D seismic, and identifying prospects for future drilling. The execution of the PSCs represents CAMAC Energy's official entry into Kenya and the East African exploration frontier.


Heritage Oil PLC said preparations are under way to drill a high-impact well in Area 7 in the Mediterranean off Malta.

Heritage detected the presence of multiple prospects and leads on 5,000 km of 2D seismic, including 1,400 km of infill and exploratory seismic shot in July 2011. A well on Area 7 would lie more than 150 miles northeast of Tripoli, Libya.

The firm said interpretation of seismic data has confirmed the mapping of a highly attractive Lower Eocene carbonate reef play in a prospect in Area 7 and allowed for mapping with greater certainty a deeper carbonate reef play in the Cretaceous section of the prospect. Both targets are recognized major hydrocarbon producing zones in the central Mediterranean.

Heritage also recognized the presence of a north-south trending shelf margin on the eastern part of the blocks where a number of attractive reef prospects have been mapped.

The company holds 100% interest Area 2 and Area 7 that total 18,000 sq km 80 and 140 km, respectively, in 300 m of water from Malta's southeastern coast. The Medina Bank-1 well was drilled in Area 2 in 1980 to 1,225 m but failed to reach target horizons between 1,500 and 4,500 m.


Poland has awarded San Leon Energy PLC the Praszka exploration concession in the southern Permian/SW Carboniferous basin.

The concession covers 296,082 acres including all of Block 309 and parts of Block 310 and expands the company's position in the basin to more than 1.2 million net acres. It expands San Leon's holdings in the unconventional gas play in the Carboniferous and also contains potential conventional prospectivity in the Permian Zechstein and Rotligendes formations.


Melrose Resources PLC and the Midia Resources SRL subsidiary of Sterling Resources Ltd., Calgary, will begin shooting 1,920 sq km of 3D seismic in the Black Sea off Romania in June, enough to cover the Muridava and Est Cobalcescu blocks, said Melrose.

Melrose agreed to farm out a 40% interest in Muridava to Midia in the quarter ended Mar. 31 and is considering the possibility of farming out a 30% interest in Est Cobalcescu to equalize its equity position across both blocks.

Interests in the 1,000 sq km Muridava Block 27 are Midia 40%, Melrose 40%, and Petromar Resources SA 20%.

Muridava, adjacent to Sterling's Pelican block, contains multiple exploration plays, has existing 2D seismic coverage, and contains an existing hydrocarbon discovery, Olimpiyskaya, which was drilled in 2001, on which limited historical data are available (OGJ Online, Mar. 22, 2012).


The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change and the British Geological Survey have authorized TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. to release on line new and historical data for all land and offshore wells in the UK.

TGS has been a data release agent for the DECC since 2006, but the previous agreement was limited to offshore exploratory and appraisal wells.

In 2012, the new agreement was expanded to include offshore development wells and data from UK land wells drilled under petroleum licenses issued by the DECC. For wells drilled before petroleum licensing began in the 1960s, TGS secured a reseller agreement with the BGS to gain access to its collection of historical well and borehole data.

TGS data coverage for UK onshore now includes 1,200 DECC wells and access to 2.5 million borehole records held by the BGS. Offshore UK coverage consists of 10,000 wells that include 4,300 exploration and appraisal wells. The TGS global well data library of 6.6 million well logs from 32 countries is also available on line.


Tethys Petroleum Ltd. said its Chegara Production Ltd. subsidiary signed a 25-year production enhancement contract that covers the Chegara group of fields in Uzbekistan.

The Chegara group is an underdeveloped group of fields 14 km southwest of Tethys's North Urtabulak asset and contiguous to Urtabulak gas-condensate field in the Amu Darya basin. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals.

Chegara reservoirs are Upper Jurassic carbonates at 2,650 m trapped below a regionally prevalent salt and anhydrite seal. Three wells produce moderate gravity oil under natural flow. Tethys sees potential from increasing production at existing wells and large upside in undrilled areas to be identified on new seismic.

The Chegara pact sets out a fixed timetable to potentially sign an exploration agreement for a large exploration block in the North Ustyurt basin in Uzbekistan.

Tethys will submit a proposal for an exploratory program for the block by the end of June 2012. The block's geology is similar to that of the Akkulka block on which Tethys discovered Doris oil field.


Petrolia Inc., Rimouski, Que., was issued drilling permits for two wells in the Gaspe area of Quebec that target conventional prospects of the Bourque reef complex.

The complex is between the towns of Murdochville and Grande Vallee, about 35 miles northwest of Gaspe city.

The Bourque-1 well is to go to 3,200 m to probe the reef's oil potential. Bourque-2, 2 km away, will go to 2,850 m to evaluate the oil potential of a pinnacle-type target.

Both targets were located from 3D seismic data.

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