Drilling/Production news briefs, July 11

Petrobras ... Alberta Energy Co. ... Parker Drilling ... Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria ... Chevron Nigeria ... Pride International ... Sonangol ... Kuwait Petroleum Corp.


Petroleo Brasileiro SA said the prolific Campos basin off Rio de Janeiro state reached a new production record of 1 million b/d of crude oil recently. This is equivalent to almost 80% of the country's production. To reach the record production level, Petrobras placed several wells on stream, some of them at the P-36 platform in giant Marlim field and some at P-37 in Roncador field. P-36 production capacity is 180,000 b/d of oil, while P-37 can produce 150,000 b/d.

Alberta Energy Co. Ltd., Calgary, is continuing efforts to control a natural gas well blowout at a remote location on the Suffield Military Block in southeastern Alberta. The vertical well had passed 2,850 ft when the blowout occurred June 29. There were no injuries, and the rig crew of 10 were was evacuated safely. Safety Boss of Red Deer, Alta., has begun debris removal, using heat shields and water cannon for site access. Directional drilling of a relief well has begun and was expected to reach target depth over the past weekend. The incident is the first of its kind in more than 20 years on the Suffield Block, where more than 3,500 oil and gas wells have been drilled.

Parker Drilling Co., Tulsa, announced that its four barge rigs under contract in Nigeria have returned to drilling at full dayrates. Operations in the Niger Delta were suspended in November due to civil unrest. Parker Drilling has retained a local Nigerian security firm to provide additional security for its crews and equipment contracted with Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria Ltd. (SPDC). Rig 73 is on a 3-year contract expiring in 2002. Rig 75, a newly built rig, was completed last July and then mobilized to its first location but had not drilled due to security issues. It is on a 5-year contract. Rig 72 is on a 3-year contract expiring in 2001. All of these drilling contracts are for SPDC. Parker has a fourth barge rig in Nigeria, Rig 74, operating for Chevron Nigeria Ltd. under a 2-year contract ending in 2001.

Pride International Inc. says the drillship Pride Africa has restarted operations on Block 17 off Angola for Elf Exploration Angola. The Pride Africa is capable of operating in 10,000 ft of water. The vessel is contracted to work for Elf for an initial term of 5 years. The Pride Africa sustained damage to certain components of drilling equipment in November 1999, when the ship's drilling line failed. A replacement blowout preventer, a newly manufactured top drive, and a new riser were installed in preparation for its return to service. The vessel is owned and operated by a joint venture of Pride and Sonangol, the state oil company of Angola. Pride owns 51% of the JV.

Kuwait Petroleum Corp. has endorsed a plan to increase the country's oil export capacity to 3 million b/d from 2.5 million b/d over the next 2-3 years. Kuwait is producing at its Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries quota of 1.037 million b/d. KPC Chairman Abdel Latif al Turah told the Kuwaiti News Agency that the capacity increase will involve expanding storage capacity, upgrading pipelines and pumping stations, and increasing ship-loading capacity. The scheme also involves increasing the production capacity of Kuwait's western oil fields to 500,000 b/d and raising capacity of Burqan field to 1.7 million b/d from 1.5 million b/d, said Al Turah.

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