Exploration/Development news briefs, June 27

Petro-Canada � Kazakhoil � Nelson Gold Ltd. � ONGC Videsh Ltd � Reliance Industries Ltd. � Sonatrach

Natural gas development off Newfoundland is at least a decade away, says a senior executive of Calgary-based Petro-Canada. Executive Vice-President Norm McIntyre told an offshore petroleum conference in St. John�s, Newf., that proven gas reserves are still too small to justify development, and the US market is uncertain. He said, over time, gas prices will stabilize and support gas development in the long term. The province has said it will offer incentives to companies prepared to develop gas reserves. Crude oil development is well under way in Newfoundland�s Jeanne d�Arc basin with Hibernia oil field in production; Terra Nova field under development, with first oil expected in 2001; and several other fields under consideration.

Kazakhstan national oil and gas company Kazakhoil and Canadian mining company Nelson Gold Ltd. have agreed to form a 50-50 joint venture to develop the Alibekmola and Kozhasai gas condensate fields in the Aktobe region of Kazakhstan. Kazakhoil will provide its rights to develop the oil fields, while Nelson Gold will arrange $800 million in project financing. The oil fields are estimated to contain 60 million tonnes of recoverable reserves. The project assumes initial production in 2002 and targets production of 2.7 million tonnes/year of oil and gas condensate.

ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), the overseas arm of India's government-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp., has joined hands with domestic firm Reliance Industries Ltd. and Algerian state firm Sonatrach in a bid to secure the contract for the Tuba oil field development in Iraq. Sonatrach was earlier a rival bidder for the field. The idea of forming a three-way consortium is OVL�s way of strengthening its chances of bagging Tuba, a field that reportedly could yield as much as 300,000 b/d of oil.

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