Area Drilling

June 12, 2006


A group led by Total SA reported a gas discovery in the Timimoun basin of central Algeria.

The MJB-3 exploration well flowed 8.3 MMcfd of gas from an undisclosed formation.

The group was evaluating the discovery and continuing its exploration and appraisal program.

Total obtained the exploration permit on Blocks 325a-329 in mid-2002 (OGJ, July 15, 2002, p. 38). Working interests are Total 63.75%, Algeria’s state Sonatrach 25%, and Cia. Espanola de Petroleos SA of Spain 11.25%.


Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy and Water let a contract to Petroleum Geo-Services, Oslo, for a multiclient 3D seismic survey in the Mediterranean.

The first phase will involve 1,000 sq km of acquisition in the Levant basin in the fourth quarter of 2006. Water depth is 1,500 m or less.

The data are to support an exploration licensing round late in the first quarter of 2007.


Madagascar Oil Ltd., London, raised $60 million to be used to develop a heavy oil accumulation at Tsimiroro in western Madagascar and in exploration programs.

Madagascar Oil and Tullow Oil PLC, London, formed a 50-50 joint venture to develop conventional light oil on Block 3109. The block covers 4,266 sq miles onshore southwest of Antananarivo in the Morondava basin.

The license takes effect when published in the government gazette.


Norway’s Statoil tested the first production well at Snohvit field in the Barents Sea last month at the rate of 120 MMcfd of gas.

The high rate, obtained through the horizontal well from the Jurassic Sto formation, impressed the company, said Thor Bensvik, drilling and well operations manager for development.

“The productivity index was rather higher than expected,” Bensvik said.

The field, being developed in 250-345 m of water without sea-surface installations, is scheduled to start producing gas through a 143-km multiphase pipeline to Melkoya near Hammerfest for trans-shipment as LNG on Dec. 1, 2007.

Statoil puts the project’s reserves at 193 bcm of natural gas, 113 million bbl of condensate, and 5.1 million tonnes of natural gas liquids.


Imperial Energy Corp. PLC, London, tested a Lower Cretaceous new pool light oil discovery in Snezhnaya field on Block 77 in the Tomsk Region of Western Siberia.

Imperial Energy in January 2006 reported a Lower Cretaceous discovery at Aikagalskaya field on Block 69 about 180 km from Snezhnaya field and believes the formation will provide better productivity than the fields’ regular Jurassic pays.

Snezhnaya 139, a planned Jurassic appraisal/production well, flowed 41° gravity oil to surface with no water and little gas from Lower Cretaceous at 2,713-15 m. The well’s 5 m of net pay is expected to produce at higher rates on pump than do the field’s Jurassic wells. Logs indicate the presence of the same interval, possibly with thicker net pay, in wells 135 and 137 and also in well 134 drilled in Soviet times, the company said.

Imperial Energy plans to start Snezhnaya Jurassic production at 2,000 b/d from 6 wells in June rising to more than 2,500 b/d when well 137 is added in July.


The ministry of petroleum and mineral resources awarded Loon Energy Inc., Calgary, the right to negotiate a production sharing contract on Block 9.

The block covers 3,900 sq miles in the Homs subbasin in northwestern Syria, locale of Cherrife, Ash Shaer, Palmyra, and Al Rasem, some of the country’s largest light oil and gas fields. Six wells have been drilled on the underexplored block.


Niko Resources Ltd., Calgary, took its first interest in Thailand, a 50% equity in the Fang production and exploration block 460 miles north of Bangkok and near the borders with Myanmar and Laos.

Thailand’s Defense Energy Department holds the block, where 103 million bbl of oil in place have been discovered in shallow, marginal fields.

The joint venture is to further develop Mae Soon field, with 12 wells planned to begin in August 2006, Niko said. Mae Soon is the largest field discovered in the area with an estimated 44 million bbl of oil in place. Production presumably would be trucked south to a pipeline at Sirikit oil field.

The joint venture is acquiring a 3D seismic survey and plans to drill 10 exploration wells starting at the end of 2006 to evaluate exploration potential north and south of the block’s current production, Niko said.


Anderson Energy Ltd., Calgary, expects to participate in 67 gross Horseshoe Canyon coalbed methane wells in its Tier I area in the balance of 2006.

It will drill two high impact Horseshoe Canyon CBM projects at Pearce, where it holds 42% working interest in 36,312 acres, and Blood, where it has 100% of 50,880 acres. Both areas lie between Calgary and the US border.

Overall, the company has assembled a drilling inventory of 879 gross (324.9 net) locations on its lands. It said 59% of the net locations are prospective in the Upper Cretaceous Edmonton sands, 31% are Horseshoe Canyon CBM development locations, and the rest are distributed among the rest of the company’s projects.

At Sierra in Northeast British Columbia, the company and a major oil and gas company operator placed on production three Devonian Kakisa horizontal gas wells.

Anderson Energy’s production in the 3 months ended Mar. 31, 2006, averaged 20.8 MMcfd of gas, 462 b/d of light/medium crude oil, and 152 b/d of natural gas liquids. Production equivalent to 15% of first quarter output was behind pipe and expected to be on line in the third and fourth quarters of 2006.

First quarter spending totaled $33.7 million.


Talisman Energy Inc. plans to drill an exploratory well to Ordovician Trenton at 800 m on a permit in the Sorel-Trois Rivieres property in Quebec, said Altai Resources Inc., Toronto.

Talisman Energy, which took options on four permits from Altai Resources, will drill on Permit 2002PG625, spudding July 1, 2006, or earlier, Altai Resources said.


Lexam Explorations Inc., Toronto, fully integrated and interpreted the 2D seismic data acquired by former partner Petro-Hunt LLC, Dallas, on the 100,000-acre Baca oil and gas project in the nonproducing San Luis basin north of Alamosa, Colo.

The interpretation of the integrated data shows that gas targets appear to be closer to surface than previously believed, Lexam Explorations said. It also outlined what may be a thicker section of Cretaceous-age rock where the company proposes to drill two exploratory wells (see map, OGJ, Sept. 1, 1997, p. 78).

Lexam Explorations has submitted results of a well design study and accompanying AFE to its 25% partner ConocoPhillips for review. Lexam Explorations also begin preparing the required plan of operations and permit applications for the two wells.


Continental Resources Inc., Enid, Okla., plans to reenter and drill a 2,500-ft lateral in the Devonian Woodford shale in the Marfa basin in mid-June.

The Exploration Co., San Antonio, and Continental Resources hold 50% interests in the project, which covers a 140,000-acre block in Presidio and Brewster counties (see map, OGJ, Apr. 10, 2006, p. 33).

XTO Energy Inc., Fort Worth, has raised production at Russell field in Gaines County to 3,700 b/d, highest since the early 1990s, compared with about 1,500 b/d when the company acquired the field in 2004.

XTO, with 97% working interest, plans to have drilled 18 wells to Permian Clearfork and 10-20 wells to Devonian in 2006.

The company drilled 20 Clearfork wells on 10 to 20-acre spacing and 3 vertical wells and 2 sidetracks in Devonian in 2005. The better Devonian laterals came in at 250-300 b/d, while the better Clearfork wells made 100-130 b/d initially.

The company believes the field has exploration potential in the deeper Ordovician Simpson and Ellenburger formations.


Delta Petroleum Corp., Denver, said it completed the Copper Mountain Unit 35-13 at Howard Ranch field, the Wind River basin field’s first well to drill through the entire Cretaceous Mesaverde section, at TD 19,100 ft.

It completed the first two stages (seven sands) out of a total of 20 potentially productive sands in Mesaverde, and sales in early May were about 5 MMcfd of gas.

It also fully completed Diamond State 36-13 in the Mesaverde, hiking field output to 11 MMcfd from 4 wells. Other completions continued.

A company rig was to return to the field to finish drilling Gates Butte Unit 10-17, suspended with winter drilling stipulations last year, and is to drill in the area for the foreseeable future.