By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 13 -- Max Petroleum PLC has acquired the Astrakhansky exploration contract in western Kazakhstan, subject to registration.
A London company focused on Kazakhstan, Max acquired rights to the contract by acquiring Kazgas Ltd. for $43.5 million. Upon registration, the contract will be for a 4-year duration with a 2-year extension option, Max said.
Max plans to shoot seismic surveys and drill one or more exploratory wells in 2007. The contract area covers 1,273 sq km in the Pre-Caspian basin in the Atyrau oblast on the Kazakhstan-Russian border. The southern contract area is in the Voga River delta.
The contract area is southeast of Astrakhan gas-condensate field, which OAO Gazprom discovered in 1976. Max said Gazprom reported Astrakhan had original gas reserves of 85 tcf and 3.4 billion bbl of condensate. Gazprom produced 11 bcm of gas from Astrakhan in 2003 (OGJ, Feb. 28, 2005, p. 53).
Initially, Max will target three exploration prospects: Imashevsky South, Imashevsky Southwest, and Imashevsky East. Max expects to find hydrocarbon traps in subsalt Carboniferous carbonates.
A well drilled in 1986 on Imashevsky South had hydrocarbon shows. However, the well was not drilled to an optimum depth for its primary target due to technical limitations. Imashevsky East has seismic coverage indicating a structure below salt. Max said it might reenter and deepen the Imashevsky South well.