Drilling/Production news briefs, May 19

American Petroleum Institute ... Meridian Resource Corp. � Manti Operating Co. � Enron North American Corp. � Sipetrol � Devon Energy Corp. � Petrobras � Saibos CML ... Enercon Engineering Inc.

Completions of US oil and natural gas wells and dry holes rose 54% to 6,158 in the first quarter of 2000, up from 4,003 completions in the same period a year ago, the American Petroleum Institute estimates. Oil well completions were up 94% to 1,943, and natural gas completions rose 39% to 3,171 for the quarter, compared with the same period in 1999. Dry holes were up 44% to 1,044. Total exploratory wells increased 44%, and development completions were up 55% vs. the same period a year ago.

Meridian Resource Corp. and partners tested two new gas discoveries and are drilling another well in Thornwell field in Jefferson Davis Parish, La. Lacassane No. 33-2 flowed 14.9 MMcfd of gas and 739 b/d of oil from 91 ft of perforations at 11,732-11,859 ft through a 18/64-in. choke with flowing tubing pressure of 7,215 psi. Its shut-in tubing pressure was 7,803 psi. Guidry No. 16-1 ST flowed 14.6 MMcfd of gas and 201 b/d of oil from 67 net ft of perforations at 11,506-11,608 ft through a 20/64-in. choke with flowing tubing pressure of 5,225 psi. Its shut-in pressure was 5,800 psi. The two wells increased total production from that field to 85 MMcfd of gas equivalent, officials said. Meridian and its partners�Manti Operating Co. and Enron North American Corp., each with about 30% working interests in the area�have drilled 10 successful wells in the field since its discovery in November 1998. Workers now are drilling below 10,000 ft on another well, Guidry No. 28-1. Additional wells are planned in the Thornwell area this year, officials said.

Sipetrol, the Chilean state-owned oil company, plans to drill an exploratory well in block BSEAL-4�in the Alagoas-Sergipe basin off Brazil's northeastern coast�in partnership with US firm Devon Energy Corp., according to press reports in Chile. Exploratory plans for the block include a $4 million investment in seismic data and $6 million in the well. Devon Energy, which acquired a 50% stake on the Brazilian block after its takeover of US-based PennzEnergy Co. last year, will be the operator. However, a Petrobras source said that Petrobras has the right to buy back up to a 50% interest in BSEAL-4.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA is not satisfied with progress on the construction of the P-40 oil platform, said Petrobras Pres. Henri Phillipe Reichstul. The platform is destined for Marlim Sul field in Campos basin off Rio de Janeiro state. Brazilian shipbuilder Maritima is responsible for constructing P-40 in Singapore under contract for Petrobras. Maritima Pres. German Efromovich says the platform will be handed over on schedule. Maritima and Petrobras are already locked in a legal dispute over the completion of two other Ametista-class drilling platforms, and there were disputes over the completion of the P-36 platform at the end of last year.

Saibos CML, a joint venture of Bouygues Offshore and Saipem SPA, selected Enercon Engineering Inc., Houston, to perform detailed design, procurement, and construction coordination of a three-leg, three-skirt-pile, 12-slot unmanned platform with test facilities, to be installed in Espoir field in 400 ft of water off the Ivory Coast. The platform, which will be operated by Ranger Oil Ltd., is slated for installation in spring 2001.

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