BHP to develop five Algerian fields

BHP Petroleum Pty. Ltd. has made a number of announcements recently on a number of fronts around the world. Most important to the company�s resurgence after some recent cost cutting and management shakeouts, BHPP has committed $316 million (Aus.) to contribute to the development of five oil fields centered on Rhourde Oulad Djemma (ROD) field in the Sahara Desert in Algeria.


MELBOURNE�BHP Petroleum Pty. Ltd. has made a number of announcements recently on a number of fronts around the world. Most important to the company�s resurgence after some recent cost cutting and management shakeouts, BHPP has committed $316 million (Aus.) to contribute to the development of five oil fields centered on Rhourde Oulad Djemma (ROD) field in the Sahara Desert in Algeria.

Total cost of the project is $830 million (Aus.). Other interest holders are Agip Algeria Exploration BV of Italy and the Algerian national company Sonatrach.

The fields, located in the Berkine basin, have total proven and probable reserves of 300 million bbl of sweet, paraffinic crude that yields good middle distillates, says BHPP. They are ROD, Sif Fatima North East, Rhourde Er Rouni North, Bir Sif Fatima, and Rhourde Debdada. All were discovered during a drilling campaign that continued throughout the 1990s.

They are located on Blocks 401a and 402a about 800 km southeast of Algiers. BHPP has a 45% interest and operatorship in these blocks. Agip has 55% interest. The largest field, ROD, extends into block 403, operated by Agip and owned jointly by Sonatrach.

A unitization agreement has been negotiated that gives BHPP about 17% of the overall project reserves. After allowing for Algerian taxation, BHPP�s net share is around 60 million bbl.

The fields will be developed through 19 production wells with 13 water injectors and 5 gas injectors. Oil will be produced via a new, dedicated processing train to be constructed at the existing Agip-Sonatrach production facility on Block 403. Oil will then be sent via an established pipeline infrastructure to terminals on the Mediterranean coast. Associated gas will be reinjected into the field reservoirs.

The fields are expected on stream during the first half of 2003. Gross production is projected to peak at 80,000 b/d of oil and 170 MMcfd of gas.

Under the terms of the production-sharing contract, the foreign partners have no right to this gas other than for use on site as fuel gas, hence the reinjection plan. A 12.5% royalty is paid on gross production.

Other BHPP activities
In other news, BHPP announced the sale of its interests in the Bolivia to Brazil natural gas pipeline for $70 million (Aus.) (OGJ Online, June 25, 2000). The pipeline is 3,000 km long and, since 1999, has connected major gas reserves in Bolivia with growing energy markets in coastal Brazil.

Also, BHPP announced a second gas discovery off Trinidad and Tobago. The Aripo-1 wildcat, about 40 km off the east coast of Trinidad, flowed at a stabilized rate of 21.6 MMcfd through a 44/64-in. choke after reaching a maximum flow of 46.3 MMcfd through an 80/64-in. choke. Water depth is around 30 m.

The company says the reservoir zone is similar to that successfully tested with its Angostura-1 wildcat, located 4 km to the southwest, earlier this year.

BHPP is operator with a 45% interest. Other interest holders are Elf Petroleum Trinidad BV, 30%, and Talisman (Trinidad) Ltd., 25%.

Finally, back home in Australia, BHPP said it had encountered a significant oil column in its Griffin-8 appraisal well of the producing Griffin field off the western Australian coast. This has increased the field�s reserves and will enable an increase in short-term production.

The well was drilled as part of an infill program that began earlier this year with the successful Scindian-3 appraisal nearby. Griffin 8 flowed at 8,000 b/d. Scindian-3 flowed at 6,370 b/d. These wells will be brought on stream in July and will increase the total output to 50,000 b/d.

Production began from the Griffin-Scindian-Chinook field group in 1994 via the Griffin Venture floating storage, production, and offloading vessel. Combined production has now surpassed 100 million bbl.

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