Area Drilling

Aug. 1, 2005
The energy ministry signed a protocol with Fusion Petroleum Technologies Inc., The Woodlands, Tex.

Congo (former Zaire)

The energy ministry signed a protocol with Fusion Petroleum Technologies Inc., The Woodlands, Tex., to conduct a geological and geophysical assessment of the country’s sedimentary basins.

Fusion will assist in preparing for a licensing round set for 2009.

The three-phase project involves a 1-year basin-scale petroleum systems study and construction of a data base, a national geophysical and geological and petroleum systems analysis to be completed by late 2008, and an informational bid round and data room.

Fusion will train ministry staff in tools and techniques needed to manage the country’s energy resources.

Congo (former Zaire) produces 25,000 b/d of oil from about a dozen offshore and coastal fields, all along its 23-miles of Atlantic Coast in the Congo salt basin. Perenco, Paris, is the only operator, having acquired Chevron Corp.’s offshore fields in 2004.

OGJ estimated the country’s reserves at about 187 million bbl (OGJ, Dec. 20, 2004, p. 23).

The barely explored, 750,000-sq-km Central basin dominates the interior of the 2.4 million sq km country, which borders nine other African nations.


The ministry of energy and mines engaged TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. to promote a license offer of the Zula Block on the Red Sea shelf.

The 7,000 sq km block is in a region that has several proven petroleum systems with source rocks, numerous oil, gas, and condensate shows, and discoveries (see map, OGJ, Dec. 7, 1992, p. 46).

A number of large leads and prospects are mapped and documented.

TGS-NOPEC has created a data room at its Houston office.


CanArgo Energy Corp., Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK, is developing shallow Kyzyloy field, one of the first dry gas developments undertaken in Kazakhstan.

The field, in the Ustyurt basin west of the Aral Sea, is to ship first gas by the end of 2005 through a 60 km connection with the main Bukhara-Urals gas trunkline. Workovers of existing 1,500-ft wells are under way.

The company’s subsidiary has spudded the first of five exploratory wells on analogous structures surrounding the field. Target depth is 1,968 ft.


OAO Sibneft began acquiring 3,000 km of seismic data on the Tumanskiy license block in Anadyr Bay of the Bering Sea.

Sibneft-Chukotka plans to use the data to design an exploratory drilling program for 2006. The company received a 5-year license for the 13,000 sq km block in 25-60 m of water in November 2003 (see map, OGJ, Aug. 27, 2001, p. 27).

Five localized structures in the license contain total geological resources estimated at more than 1 billion tons of oil equivalent, Sibneft said.


Vulcan Minerals Inc., St. John’s, spudded Storm-1, a proposed 1,000-m wildcat in southwestern Newfoundland.

Terralliance Technologies Canada Inc., London, Ont., is paying two thirds of the cost to earn a 50% working interest on part of the 10-20 sq km Storm structure and has an option on two other locations on the structure. Vulcan, the operator, is using company tools.

The objectives are represented by seismic bright spots in the Mississippian Codroy Group in the Bay St. George subbasin 5 km east of the Flat Bay anticline.


McMoRan Exploration Co., New Orleans, plans to have spudded 7 prospects on the Gulf of Mexico shelf in the second half of 2005, including one already drilling and two due to start soon.

McMoRan acquired oil and gas rights in June 2005 from El Paso Production Co. to 6 deep gas exploration prospects on 18,000 gross acres on land and in state waters off Vermilion Parish. McMoRan and its private partner paid El Paso $3.6 million as partial recovery of prospect costs and will fund 100% of drilling costs to casing point on as many as 6 wells.

The first two prospects are Long Point on State Lease 18090, spud imminent, and Cane Ridge, S.L. 18055, to spud in the third quarter of 2005. Projected TDs are 20,000 ft and 16,500 ft, respectively. El Paso at casing point can elect to participate for 25% interest.

Separately, the JB Mountain Deep well in 10 ft of water on South Marsh Island Block 224 is drilling below 3,300 ft enroute to 23,000 ft. The lease is eligible for deep gas royalty relief.

McMoRan continues to identify prospects on its 280,000 gross acres.



Comstock Resources Inc., Frisco, Tex., will reassess its Robin prospect in Polk County, Tex., after evaluating results from the unsuccessful BSMC Unit B1 directional exploratory well on the Big Sandy prospect south of Double A Wells field.

Pay logged in the interval 17,100-18,890 ft in Lower Woodbine was not sufficient to justify the cost of a completion. TD is 19,093 ft.

Comstock was unable to log the remaining 203 ft but had other indications that no hydrocarbons were present. Drilling problems escalated the drilling-completion cost to $14 million, considerably higher than expected.

West Virginia

Penn Virginia Corp., Radnor, Pa., and CDX Gas LLC, private Dallas independent, plan to expand a multistate Appalachian horizontal coalbed methane drilling program.

CDX has committed three rigs and crews to drill horizontal wells full time in an area of mutual interest that covers most of central Appalachia. Under unspecified conditions, a fourth and fifth rig would be added.

A rig can drill eight to ten 400-acre horizontal CBM patterns per year, Penn Virginia said.

Penn Virginia plans to start drilling in the fourth quarter of 2005 on 60,000 acres in Wyoming County, W.Va., acquired from Panther Energy LLC, a private Tulsa independent. The lands lie within the AMI with CDX and are adjacent to acreage it and CDX have developed. CDX has 30 days to acquire a 50% interest in the leasehold.