Drilling/Production news briefs, Aug. 28

Ensco International � Cal Dive International � Peru � Perez Companc � Occidental Petroleum � Petrotech International


Ensco International Inc. said it has finished assessing the damage to its harsh-environment jack up rig Ensco 101 after an incident announced Aug. 7, 2000. At that time, the company said the jack up had sustained the damage while moving onto a drilling location in the UK sector of the North Sea and that the rig was en route to a shipyard to assess and repair the damage. The incident investigation has now been completed, Ensco said, and repairs have begun. While jacking the rig out of the water, a foundation failure and soil flow occurred in the seabed under one of the legs. This foundation failure caused the rig's legs to experience abnormal stresses, resulting in localized damage to the hull and legs. The assessment indicated damage that was more extensive than originally anticipated, said Ensco. Extent of damage and delivery of high-strength material to effect repairs could result in the rig being out of service until late in the fourth quarter, says the firm. Ensco expects that the cost of repairing the damage will be covered by insurance.

Cal Dive International Inc. has completed a low-interest, long-term financing for the construction of a technologically advanced, multiservice vessel, the Q4000. The US government is guaranteeing the $138.5 million financing under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act, as administered by the Maritime Administration. The Q4000, under construction at the AMFELS yard in Brownsville, Tex., is a sixth-generation semisubmersible that, Cal Dive said in a statement, "...the company believes will revolutionize the economics of deepwater completion and construction operations."

Peru reduced its 15% minimum royalties for exploration and development contracts on offshore blocks to 10% for blocks in 200-400 m of water on the continental shelf and 5% in water deeper than 400 m. Energy and Mines Minister Jorge Chamot said the measure is the first in a series of rules to be modified in order to enable Peru to compete with other countries, especially offshore. Peru is tendering 16 offshore blocks in four areas on its continental shelf. The first is opposite the Talara basin, on the far north coast; the second is opposite Salaverry, where Repsol explored unsuccessfully. The third area is on the shelf between Lima and Ica; and the fourth, opposite Arequipa and Moquegua in the far south. The tender was put on hold last month in order to improve the terms Peru can offer potential bidders. Only two blocks are now being explored offshore: Block Z-1 off the north coast by Argentina�s Perez Companc and Block Z-3 by a unit of US firm Occidental Petroleum Corp. Another US company, Petrotech International Corp., is the only offshore producer, with an average 13,000 b/d of oil and 15 MMcfd of gas on Block Z-2B, also off Peru�s north coast.

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