Pioneer appraising Boomslang discovery off South Africa

Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Irving, Tex., said its South African subsidiary found oil and gas with its first well on Boomslang prospect on Block 9 off South Africa. Pioneer Natural Resources South Africa (Pty.) Ltd. operates the prospect, located in 450 ft of water in the E-P tract in Bredasdorp basin.


By the OGJ Online Staff


HOUSTON, Feb. 20
�Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Irving, Tex., said its South African subsidiary found oil and gas with its first well on Boomslang prospect on Block 9 off South Africa.

Pioneer Natural Resources South Africa (Pty.) Ltd. operates the prospect, in 450 ft of water in the E-P tract in Bredasdorp basin. Government-owned Soekor E&P Pty. Ltd. has the remaining 51%.

The well found 128 gross ft of pay in synrift shallow-marine sands consisting of an oil leg under a gas column at 6,600 ft.

On test, a portion of the oil leg interval flowed up to 3,120 b/d of oil and 2.6 MMcfd of gas over a 48-hr period on varying choke sizes.

The overlying gas column has been flowing at a constant rate of 24 MMcfd of gas and 300 b/d of condensate for 5 days, Pioneer said.

Scott D. Sheffield, chairman and CEO of Pioneer, said, "Boomslang wildcat confirms a prospective oil and gas trend on the southern flank of the Bredasdorp basin, similar to the gas producing trend on the northern flank, and validates several analogous prospects in this area."

The company plans to drill an appraisal well on Boomslang in the second quarter as well as acquire a 1,193 sq km 3D seismic survey covering Boomslang prospective trend.

After completing the testing of Boomslang well, Pioneer will use the same rig to drill its first appraisal well (E-BB2) to assess the commercial viability of gas in the central part of Block 9.

The proposed appraisal well is a 1,500-ft offset to the 1991 E-BB1 discovery that flowed at a combined rate of 46 MMcfd of gas and 1,830 b/d of condensate from two sands during short flow tests. Pioneer will perform extended flow tests (5-7 days) of at least three gas-bearing sands at between 9,350 ft and 10,000 ft to assess potential deliverability and reservoir limits.

Pioneer will act as the operator for the drilling and testing of this gas appraisal well and will earn a 40% working interest in the E-BB prospect. Soekor E&P has 60% and is the designated operator.

Soekor, Pioneer, and Petroleum Ltd. are moving toward project sanction for Sable field off South Africa, said Pioneer, adding approval could come within the month. It said development wells could be spudded in the second half and first oil production could be in late 2002 or early 2003. Soekor operates Sable with 60%, Pioneer has 35%, and Petroleum Ltd. 5%.

Boomslang prospect off South Africa should not be confused with Murphy Oil Corp.'s Boomslang project on Ewing Bank 994 in the US Gulf of Mexico. The Sable project off South Africa should not be confused with Sable Offshore Energy Inc.'s Sable project off Nova Scotia.

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