Apache boosts Egypt western desert output

Apache Corp. said it has proved a Jurassic Safa formation oil play that could cover as much as 830 sq miles in Egypt's western desert, most of it on company-operated acreage.

Jul 30th, 2008

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 30 -- Apache Corp. said it has proved a Jurassic Safa formation oil play that could cover as much as 830 sq miles in Egypt's western desert, most of it on company-operated acreage.

Meanwhile, the company has hiked production to 15,000 b/d from 1,100 b/d from Umbarka field, discovered in 1968. Apache has drilled 137 wells in the field since assuming operation in March 2001. A 7,300-acre waterflood in Cretaceous Upper Bahariya produces about 70% of the field's output.

Apache plans to drill five more Cretaceous Alam El Bueib-3D wells at Umbarka, where the Umbarka-174 well went to 11,306 ft and tested 4,300 b/d of oil from 46 ft of perforations in an independent three-way fault closure of 150 acres northeast of the main field.

The Safa success came at the Heqet-2 well, drilled to appraise the 1991 Heqet-1 discovery in the Greater Khalda area of the Faghur basin 66 miles southwest Qasr field and 66 miles east of the border with Libya.

With the Heqet-2, TD 14,700 ft, producing 2,100 b/d of oil, Apache plans to drill four wildcats targeting Jurassic oil pools in the Heqet and Neigh South areas, said G. Steven Farris, president and chief executive officer.

"Using improvements in fracture stimulation technology, we have turned a marginally economic play into a potentially significant oil accumulation," Farris said. "We are studying other ways to increase productivity through fracture stimulation."

The Heqet Safa oil accumulation is estimated to cover 835 acres. Oil produced in Heqet and nearby Kalabsha and Neith fields is found in Jurassic-aged sands below 14,000 ft that were sourced from nearby Jurassic-aged shales and coals buried in the Faghur basin. Faghur is much cooler than the Shushan basin, location of Qasr, Apache's largest field; thus a large part of Faghur is oil-bearing as opposed to the hotter-temperature, gas-bearing Shushan basin, Apache said.

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