Exploration/Development news briefs, Aug. 18

Elf Petroleum Nigeria�Nigerian National Petroleum Corp�.ExxonMobil � Promax Energy�Anzoil�Maurel & Prom�Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria

Elf Petroleum Nigeria, a subsidiary of French oil major TotalFinaElf SA, has signed an agreement with Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) to finance the bulk of the $1 billion development costs for the offshore Amenam project, which includes development of nearby Kpono field. The Amenam/Kpono project has been held up for several years due to concern over how the NNPC would finance its share of the costs. Production is now due to begin mid-2003 and come up to 125,000 b/d. Field operator Elf will carry NNPC's share of the project. NNPC owns 60% of the project; Elf holds 31.2%; and a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corp., 8.8%.

Promax Energy Inc., Calgary, said Wednesday it spudded its first well Aug. 14 in the Cessford area of southeastern Alberta, where it plans to drill up to 23 wells including 15 Nisku tests and 8 Medicine Hat/Milk River tests. As part of its drilling program for 2000, potential horizons include Victoria A & B, Belly River, Medicine Hat, Milk River, Basal Colorado, Viking A & B, 2nd White Specs, Sunburst, Colony, Basal Quartz, Glauconite, McLaren, Detrital, and Bakken. Promax Energy also has drilled two follow-up wells to the Glauconite channel discovery made in 1998 and placed onstream in June.

Viet Nam has extended a production-sharing contract that covers the Hanoi basin for two years, block operator Anzoil announced. The JV relinquished part of the PSC at the time of the extension (OGJ, June 12, 2000, p. 28). The joint venture of Anzoil and Maurel & Prom�Anzoil's largest shareholder�will have control over the PSC until July 2002, during which the JV must drill one well, which will probably be a follow-up to the B10 oil discovery on the Buried Hill trend in the north part of the PSC area. Anzoil says the extension gives the joint venture time to complete feasibility studies for a small gas-to-power project involving the D14-1 well in the Hanoi basin.

Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria Ltd. has announced a new oil find in the Soku field onshore Nigeria. �The discovery, with estimated reserves of 70 million-100 million bbl, is the result of the company�s onshore exploration campaign to explore possibilities of pockets of high volumes of oil in its areas of concession,� it said. Shell said production would begin in October this year �or possibly earlier" at around 10,000 b/d. The company is developing the Soku oil field as part of its $8 billion-plus investment plan in Nigeria, aimed at raising output to 1 million b/d by 2002.

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