Exploration/Development news briefs, Aug. 4

CMS Oil & Gas � Texaco Exploration & Production � Petronas � Burlington Resources � Agip � New Horizon Trinidad & Tobago � Petrotrin � CanArgo Energy � AES Gardabani � Mobil Oil Canada � Sonatrach � Kerr-McGee NW Shelf Australia Energy � BHP Petroleum (North West Shelf) � Texaco Australia

CMS Oil & Gas Co. has drilled two successful exploratory wells in Texas. The Hangar 7401H well in Upton County was drilled vertically to a depth of 12,037 ft and horizontally a distance of 4,000 ft. It flowed at 7.5 MMcfd of gas at a flowing casing pressure of 1,000 psi. The well is expected to begin production shortly. CMS Oil & Gas holds a 100% working interest in this well, subject to a 25% reversionary interest. The Lela A No. 2P exploratory well in Midland County was drilled vertically to a depth of 10,713 ft and horizontally a distance of 5,684 ft in the Pennsylvanian. It tested more than 750 b/d of oil and 2.7 MMcfd at a flowing casing pressure of 340 psi but is now producing 500 b/d of oil and 1.5 MMcfd of gas. CMS operates the well with a 90% working interest; 10% is held by Texaco Exploration & Production Inc.

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Tuesday Malaysian state oil and gas company Petronas has won a an open bidding tender to develop the Block 11 oil and gas field in Bangladesh. Hasina said she invites Petronas to invest widely in Bangladesh in both the upstream and downstream sectors.

Burlington Resources Inc., Houston, on Tuesday announced its entry into West Africa with the acquisition for an undisclosed amount of a 25% interest in the Agip SPA-operated M'Polo, Chaillu, and Meboun Blocks, covering 5.3 million acres off Gabon. A 1,200 sq mile seismic shoot has been completed over the blocks, and two exploratory wells are planned for 2001. The concession calls for six wells to be drilled by mid-2003 (two wells on each block). Burlington said the acquisition exposes it to more high-potential exploration and complements its other international exploration opportunities.

New Horizon Exploration Inc., Richardson, Tex., said Thursday that its subsidiary, New Horizon Exploration Trinidad & Tobago Ltd., plans to develop the Parrylands Block E oil field in Trinidad through a joint venture with Petrotrin, Trinidad and Tobago's national petroleum company. New Horizon will operate the joint venture and invest up to $35 million to develop the field. The field will be developed over the next 5 years via New Horizon's enhanced oil recovery technique. New Horizon said it expects to recover more than 50% of the oil from targeted reservoirs, or about 30 million bbl. Oil production is expected to reach 16,000 b/d. New Horizon's oil extraction process combines directional drilling with steam-assisted gravity drainage.

CanArgo Energy Corp., Calgary, said drilling has begun on the first well of a three-well program on the Ninotsminda license in the Republic of Georgia. The wells will test identified Paleocene and late Cretaceous prospects beneath CanArgo's producing Middle Eocene reservoir. N-97, the first well, will be drilled to 4,500 m; it should reach planned depth by the middle of November, said CanArgo. AES Corp. unit AES Gardabani will participate in the three-well program with CanArgo Energy subsidiary Ninotsminda Oil Co. under an agreement announced last week (OGJ Online, July 28, 2000).

Mobil Oil Canada, a unit of ExxonMobil Corp., has received regulatory approval for a new exploratory drilling program in the Sable Island region off Nova Scotia and plans to begin work immediately. Mobil did not put a cost on the drilling program but said it applied to drill six to nine wells in the gas-prone region. The drilling area is near the $3.5 billion (Can.) Sable Offshore Energy Project in which Mobil is the lead partner. SOEP began production of natural gas late last year for markets in Atlantic Canada and the Northeast US. Mobil received approval July 28 from the Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board for the new drilling program.

Algerian state oil and gas company Sonatrach has obtained new exploration permits off and in northeastern Algeria, according to an official report from Algiers. The offshore permit is located north of the city of Annaba and covers an area of 48,650 sq km. The permit has a duration of 2 years. The onshore permits, in the regions of Soukahras, Batna, Khenchela, and Tebessa, are for 5-year terms. These permits were granted under a new government strategy aimed at expanding exploration activities in northern Algeria. Until now, exploration efforts have been concentrated in the country's southern regions.

Kerr-McGee Corp. was awarded interests in five deepwater permits in the Outer Browse basin off Australia. The permits include about 6.4 million acres in 1,500-8,000 ft of water. Kerr-McGee, through its wholly owned subsidiary Kerr-McGee NW Shelf Australia Energy Pty Ltd., garnered 50% interests in WA-301P and WA-304P with BHP Petroleum (North West Shelf) Pty. Ltd. (50%), and 33.33% interests in WA-302P, WA-303P, and WA-305P with BHP Petroleum (North West Shelf) and Texaco Australia Pty. Ltd. (33.33% each).

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