Egypt discovery buoys Western Desert output

Houston independent Apache Corp. gauged a natural gas-condensate discovery—its second find of the year—in Egypt’s Western Desert where it plans to drill 11 more exploration wells and 2 appraisal wells in 2010 in the Matruh basin.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, May 28
-- Houston independent Apache Corp. gauged a natural gas-condensate discovery—its second find of the year—in Egypt’s Western Desert where it plans to drill 11 more exploration wells and 2 appraisal wells in 2010 in the Matruh basin.

Apache’s Samaa-1X well tested 21 MMcfd of gas and 913 b/d of condensate from Jurassic Lower Safa and 23 MMcfd and 1,997 b/d from the Upper Safa. Samaa-1X is on the Matruh concession 1.2 miles northwest of Matruh field and 3.7 miles southeast of the 2008 Maggie-1X discovery (OGJ Online, Jan. 27, 2009).

The nearby Opera-1X discovery, drilled earlier in 2010, flowed 890 b/d of oil from the Cretaceous Alam El Buieb 3D formation. Apache is drilling Opera-2X, an appraisal well northeast of the discovery and plans several more wells to test this underexplored reservoir interval.

Opera-1X was the first test on a large, undrilled Jurassic structure targeting AEB-3 oil in the Matruh concession. It is the third successful discovery, along with large Jade and Falcon fields, of AEB-3D oil in the concession.

Opera is producing 800 b/d, and Apache expects Samaa to be brought on line quickly. In the Faghur basin 140 km to the southwest, Apache expects to bring facilities on line in the second quarter that will expand production capacity to 20,000 b/d.

Tom Voytovich, vice-president of Apache’s Egypt region, said, “The Matruh basin and the Faghur basin continue to be successful focus areas for Apache, with AEB and Safa reservoirs that have proven to be prolific oil and gas producers. The thickness of the sands and the stacked pay zones in both areas present multiple opportunities for further exploration.”

Matruh, acquired by farmout from Royal Dutch Shell PLC in 2001, produces 130 MMcfd and 18,000 b/d from 16 wells. The concession has yielded 119 bcf and 11.2 million bbl of oil since Apache established production in 2003. Output has grown to its current rate from 60 MMcfd and 5,000 b/d in early 2009.

Apache continues to evaluate 3D seismic surveys, including a recently completed 155-sq-mile shoot, to identify exploration opportunities in the basin, which extends across portions of several Apache-operated concessions.

The Samaa-1X well was designed to test the Lower AEB and Safa reservoirs. Voytovich said, “In the surrounding area, the Safa reservoirs have provided most of the historic production in the Imhotep, Mihos, Matruh, and Maggie fields, and the AEB-6 was productive in the Matruh field.”

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