Exploration/Development Briefs

June 11, 2012


Bangladesh, mainly a gas-producing country, has discovered indications of an oil pay zone in two Surma basin gas fields.

The indications became apparent while Petrobangla was interpreting 3D seismic data to surmise the volume of recoverable gas that might remain in Kailashtila and Sylhet fields, according to remarks attributed to Petrobangla Chairman Hussain Monsur.

Monsur indicated that the deposits appear to be commercial, but it was not clear what work would be carried out to tap them. The oil would not be the first found in the country, where several of the gas fields produced considerable amounts of condensate.

Bangladesh Oil & Gas Minerals Corp. placed the Haripur-7 well on production in mid-1987 producing 450 b/d of waxy crude from 6,670 ft (OGJ, June 8, 1987, p. 22).

Also, the website of Petrobangla's Sylhet division indicates that the Sylhet-7 well had cumulative production of 560,869 bbl of crude oil at about 6,600 ft from about 1986 until mid-1994. That oil was shipped to the Chittagong refinery. After oil production ceased, Sylhet-7 was recompleted twice in a shallower gas formation.


China's State Oceanic Administration has formally approved the environmental impact assessment report that relates to the LS36-1 gas field development on Block 25/34 in the East China Sea, said Primeline Energy Holdings Inc. and CNOOC Ltd.

The administration had previously approved the routing of a pipeline for the development. The Safety Assessment and Occupational Hazard Assessment of the Development have also been approved by relevant government departments.

The EIA approval paves the way for the final regulatory approval required for the development, namely approval of the Overall Development Program. Primeline expects that CNOOC will submit the ODP for confirmation by the National Reform and Development Committee shortly.

In the meantime, CNOOC as the development operator has stepped up development preparation work. Major construction contracts have been signed, and fabrication of the platform and work on the pipeline are proceeding smoothly. The development is on schedule for first production expected to be around the third quarter of 2013.

Congo (former Zaire)

SOCO International PLC plans to fly aerogravity and aeromagnetic surveys over part of Block V in eastern Congo (former Zaire) in June 2012.

The helicopter surveys will be flown over the Lake Edward portion of the 7,105-sq km block in the southern Albert graben near the borders with Uganda and Rwanda.

The government approved an environmental and social impact study relating to the initial exploration phases. As many as 1 million people live in subsistence conditions in Virunga National Park, a portion of which is contiguous with Block V.

SOCO E&P DRC is operator of Block V with 38.25% interest. Ophir Energy PLC has 46.75%, and Congo's state Cohydro has 15%.

The Gambia

The Gambia has formalized two previously awarded petroleum exploration, development, and production licenses to offshore Blocks A2 and A5 to CAMAC Energy Inc., Houston.

The blocks cover a combined 2,666 sq km in 600-1,000 m of water east of deepwater Blocks A1 and A4 operated by African Petroleum Corp.

CAMAC Energy is the operator with a 100% interest in each block. The Gambia National Petroleum Co. has the right to elect to participate up to a 15% interest following approval of a development and production plan. CAMAC is responsible for all expenditures prior to such approval even if GNPC elects to participate.

During the initial 4-year exploration phase, CAMAC Energy will conduct surveys, acquire and interpret 2D and 3D seismic data, identify prospects, and drill one exploration well on each block.


A group led by AWE Ltd., Sydney, last week spudded the Atlas-1 exploratory well on the Titan production sharing contract area in the East Java basin, Indonesia.

Atlas-1 is to go to 770 m measured depth in 70 m of water 70 km north of Tuban to test a Miocene Kujung limestone reservoir sequence that in combination with the 2008 Lengo gas discovery 35 km west could contain as much as 1 tcf of recoverable gas, AWE said. The Lengo discovery tested gas at rates as high as 12.8 MMcfd.

Participants in the Titan PSC are AWE Ltd. via subsidiaries 40%, Baruna Oil & Gas Ltd. and Mitra Energy (Indonesia Titan) Ltd. 25% each, and PT Sillo Maritime Perdana 10%.


Zion Oil & Gas Inc., Dallas, and Lapidoth Israel Oil Prospectors Corp. Ltd. have signed a memorandum of understanding under which they would establish a company to acquire a land rig with a depth capacity of as much as 25,000 ft.

The entity, Zion-Lapidoth Drilling, will be owned 50-50 and would equally share the estimated $15 million cost of the rig. The MoU provides that Zion Oil will retain Zion-Lapidoth Drilling for its drilling program and when not required by Zion Oil, Zion-Lapidoth Drilling may lease the drilling rig to third parties.

Zion Oil said the partnership would "alleviate a longstanding concern about our ability to continue to drill exploratory wells in Israel without dependence on an outside third party."


Condor Petroleum Inc., Calgary, said its Shoba-6 appraisal well at the Zharkamys West 1 Contract Territory in Kazakhstan's North Caspian basin found a new oil zone with 3.5 m of net oil pay in the Basal Jurassic as indicated by petrophysical analysis.

Mapping and further analysis is in progress to better define the Jurassic zone's potential across the field.

Shoba-6, third well in the appraisal program, went to 896 m and encountered 19 m of net oil pay and 10 m of net gas pay in the Triassic, sharing a common oil-water contact with previously drilled wells. Production casing has been set, and the well is scheduled to be produced as part of the trial production project expected to start in the third quarter of 2012.

Sh-6 results confirm the continuity of the Triassic reservoir to the southeast of Sh-1, in addition to defining new reserves potential across the field from the Basal Jurassic zone.

Meanwhile, Shoba-9 went to 843 m in May 2012 and penetrated 3 m of net oil pay in the Triassic. It is cased and will be flow-tested once regulatory approvals are obtained, Condor said.

Sh-9 extends Shoba field to the southeast of the recent Sh-8 well and north of the primary fault in the field, confirming that a common oil-water contact exists between fault compartments. In addition to defining the near zero-edge of the field, the Sh-9 results will be used to upgrade reserves contained in the northern fault block from their current "possible" category.

The three Shoba appraisal wells have averaged less than $800,000/well. One more Shoba appraisal well will be drilled in 2012 and as many as 10 exploration wells targeting multiple play types and depths.


Pemex Exploracion y Produccion has awarded a contract for the Ayatsil-B drilling platform to McDermott International Inc.

McDermott will perform engineering, procurement, fabrication, precommissioning, load-out, and sea fastening of the eight-leg, 11,650-tonne jacket and deck in 115 m of water in Ayatsil field in the Bay of Campeche. Completion is set for the third quarter of 2013.

McDermott will also carry out transportation and installation analysis of the structures and will train Pemex personnel in their operation and maintenance.

At peak, more than 500 personnel will be engaged on the project. The award follows delivery of Pemex's Kuil-A project.


HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA, Rio de Janeiro, will sign a final contract in early June under which the Transocean Marianas semisubmersible will drill for the company offshore Namibia starting in late 2012.

The rig will be under contract for 280 days and will drill at least four exploratory wells, HRT said. The four prospects are in 160-1,800 m of water.

New Zealand

TAG Oil Ltd., Vancouver, BC, will acquire exploration permits totaling more than 2 million acres in the East Coast and Canterbury basins in New Zealand from Rawson Taranaki Ltd. and Zeanco (NZ) Ltd. for $2.3 million (Can.), subject to ministerial approval.

PEP 52589, PEP 52676, and PEP 53674 are located in favorable geological areas that offer high-impact exploration opportunities in the two basins, TAG Oil said.

The acquisition is complementary to TAG's existing East Coast basin exploration portfolio, expanding its current play area to the southern extent of the basin.

The acquisition also positions TAG with more than 1 million acres in the lightly-explored Canterbury basin, an emerging frontier in which large international energy companies plan to test offshore prospects.


Petrominerales Ltd., Calgary, will acquire Veraz Petroleum Ltd.'s 20% working interest in Blocks 126, 141, and 161 in the Ucayali and Titicaca basins in Peru for $5 million in common stock.

Closing is expected in late July and is subject to approval by Veraz shareholders.

Petrominerales is moving a drilling rig to its Sheshea prospect on 2.6 million acre Block 126 in Ucayali. The block's second exploratory well, it will probe a 10,000-acre closed structure 50 km south of the first exploratory well, La Colpa-2X. Also in Ucayali, Petrominerales is working on a revised environmental impact statement on 1.2 million acre Block 161 and will shoot 2D seismic in 2013.

Block 141 covering 1.4 million acres in Titicaca is under force majeure due to new government regulations that require further community consultations prior to obtaining permits.

As a result, Petrominerales' commitment to complete 300 line-km of 2D seismic by July 2012 has been suspended pending completion of the additional consultations.


TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. has begun shooting the first phase of a 3D seismic survey in the Erlend basin north of the Shetland Islands on the UK Continental Shelf.

The 3,210 sq km survey is the basin's first multiclient 3D shoot and covers open blocks that were offered in the UKCS 27th round. The survey area adjoins a northern North Sea 3D survey shot in 2011.

The new 3D data expands on TGS' Northern North Sea 3D survey making a total contiguous volume exceeding 10,000 sq km. Second phase acquisition take place during the 2012 season, and processed data will be available for delivery and licensing in the second quarter of 2013.


Neon Energy Ltd., Perth, has spudded the Paloma Deep-2 well and is preparing to spud the Paloma-3 shallow appraisal well in Paloma field in Kern County, Calif., in the San Joaquin basin.

Meanwhile, the Paloma Deep-1 well, which encountered the hydrocarbon pay zones to be appraised by the two new wells, continues to produce from the Lower Antelope member of the Miocene Monterey shale at 35-120 b/d, 10-50% oil, while cleaning up (OGJ Online, Jan. 11, 2012).

Paloma Deep-2, to go to 13,600 ft in the Fruitvale formation with a larger hole diameter than Paloma Deep-1, will also obtain cores in the Lower Antelope, Lower Stevens, and Fruitvale shale reservoirs.

Potential was identified in Paloma Deep-1 for bypassed pay in the upper section between 2,500 ft and 6,000 ft. Paloma-3 will target the Tulare formation in a small four-way dip closure and potential gas zones in stratigraphic traps of the Mya and Etchegoin formations. Projected TD is 6,000 ft.

Neon operates the wells with a minimum 75% working interest in the project. Solimar Energy Ltd., Perth, is participating with up to a 25% working interest pending completion of the farmout agreement in relation to the Paloma Deep-1 well, under which Solimar is paying a promoted share of the dry hole and completion/testing costs up to an agreed cost cap.


Bill Barrett Corp., Denver, said the company has resumed exploratory drilling at its Yellow Jacket prospect in southwestern Colorado in the quarter ended Mar. 31.

The company drilled two horizontal wells to the Gothic shale at 6,000 ft in an area where it expects natural gas liquids and plans to complete the wells in the 2012 second quarter.

Barrett, which holds 352,000 net acres on the prospect in the Paradox basin, also signed a joint venture agreement with a large independent to earn-in up to 70% interest on 112,000 acres.

The joint venture will acquire 3D seismic and plans to drill its first well by April 2013.

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