ChevronTexaco confirms Aparo discovery off Nigeria

Texaco Nigeria Outer Shelf Ltd. "encountered a substantial amount of net oil sand" during test drilling on its deepwater oil prospecting license (OPL) Block 213 oil discovery in Aparo field off Nigeria.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Aug. 30 -- Texaco Nigeria Outer Shelf Ltd. (TNOS), "encountered a substantial amount of net oil sand" during test drilling on its deepwater oil prospecting license (OPL) Block 213 oil discovery in Aparo field off Nigeria, the company said after completing the Aparo-2 appraisal well.

The ChevronTexaco Corp. affiliate, which operates OPL Block 213 and holds 100% contractor equity, also was operator in drilling the successful well on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC).

Aparo-2 appraisal operations, which began in May, drilled in 4,100 ft of water to 11,573 ft TD. Well operations were suspended following the successful drill stem test.

The appraisal well lies 5.5 km north of TNOS' 2001 Aparo-1 oil discovery and 1.2 km south of Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production Co. Ltd.'s Bonga field appraisal well OML 118 SW-2 drilled earlier this year about 120 km off the Niger Delta's southwestern coastline.

ChevronTexaco said the success of the Aparo program indicates that the Aparo OPL Block 213 and Bonga OML Block 118 SW discoveries share a common structure and will likely become a joint oil development by the OPL 213 and OML 118 operators.

"We will be working jointly with the OML 118 operator (Shell Nigeria) over the next few months to ascertain the optimum development of these resources," said Jay Pryor, strategic business unit managing director for TNOS and ChevronTexaco Mid-Africa. Shell, a unit of Royal Dutch/Shell Group, holds 55% of Bonga field (on Block OPL 212) on behalf of NNPC; its partners are Esso Exploration and Production Co. Nigeria Ltd., 20%, Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd., 12.5%, and Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd., 12.5%.

Bonga development
Twice as large as other discoveries in Nigeria, Bonga will be the first deepwater oil and gas field in Nigeria to be developed—at a cost of $2.7 billion—and its infrastructure will be in place well before that of Aparo. Bonga is expected to produce as much as 220,000 boe/d starting in 2003 (OGJ, June 17, 2002, p. 22).

To develop Bonga, Shell will utilize an FPSO with a capacity of 2 million bbl of oil storage capacity and170 MMcfd of gas, which will form part of the gas feed to the Bonny LNG terminal. In addition, a subsea gas transportation infrastructure linking Bonga to the Forcados-Yokri area and South Forcados will be put into place this year when Shell Petroleum Development Co. completes its Nigeria offshore gas gathering system, (OGJ, Feb 4, 2002, p. 64).

The Bonga Southwest discovery well (OML 118 SW-1, in the same block) was drilled in 1,245 m of water to 4,160 m TD in spring 2001, and its confirmation well was drilled earlier this year.

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