Exploration/Development briefs, Apr. 11

Meridian Resource � First International Oil � Rosneft � Itera Holdings � Falcon Energy Overseas � Potential Oil � Statoil � � Thai Shell Exploration & Production � Petro-Canada � Anderson Exploration � Conoco UK

Meridian Resource Corp. has a new field discovery at the Hughes No. 1 in Jefferson Davis Parish, La. The hole was drilled to 19,079 ft and logs indicate 240 gross ft of pay in deep Bol mex sands. Meridian will test the well in 30-45 days. The company owns 90% of the well.

First International Oil Corp., Houston, said Rosneft and Itera Holdings intend to join it in the exploration of the 829,000 acre Federovskoye license adjacent to Karachaganak field in northwest Kazakhstan. FIOC will retain 25% of the block. Rosneft also agreed to farm into 50% of the Adaiski block, 70 km east of Chevron Corp.'s Tengiz field. FIOC and Falcon Energy Overseas Inc. have formed a joint venture to develop shallow oil fields on the Sagiski block. And FIOC will be a partner of Potential Oil of Kazakhstan in the Begaidar block.

Statoil said partners in the gas and condensate fields of Snøhvit, Askeladd, and Albatross in the Barents Sea plan to submit a development proposal this summer, start development in 2002, and begin production in 2006. The licensees propose to develop the fields with seabed installations controlled from a site at Melkøya near Hammerfest northern Norway. Plans call for a gas liquefaction plant there.

Greenland is considering altering its business taxes, including a reduction in company taxes to 30% from 35%. As a result, the licensing round that was to have been held this summer will be delayed until December. The country expects to offer the entire unlicensed offshore area west of Greenland between 63° N and 68° N.

Thai Shell Exploration & Production Co. has resumed exploration drilling on block B6/27 in the Gulf of Thailand as part of its effort to revive oil production from Nang Nuan field, Thailand's first offshore producer. It will drill two wells in the block at an estimated cost of $10 million (OGJ Online, Jan 02, 2001).

Petro-Canada has suspended drilling at a $25 million (Can.) wildcat in the Arctic, 78 miles north of Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The Kurk gas prospector went to 8,842 ft before drilling was suspended because an ice road to the location was in danger of melting. Petro-Canada has a 60% interest in the well and Calgary-based Anderson Exploration Ltd. 40%. Drilling is planned to resume at Kurk next winter.

The UK Department of Trade and Industry has approved a Conoco UK Ltd. wildcat on Block 132/6 in the Tranche 21 license area west of the Hebrides. The site is in 1,920 m of water 135 km from land. The well will be drilled in May.

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