US major farms in to Suriname duo

Chevron has farmed in to two frontier deepwater blocks offshore the northeast margin of South America, with partner Kosmos Energy planning to start shooting 5,000 sq km (1,930 sq miles) of 3-D seismic later this year. The company will be assigned a 50% working interest (WI) in Blocks 42 and 45 offshore Suriname through its agreement with Kosmos. Kosmos will hold a 50% WI and operate the blocks until the end of the exploration phase, with Chevron to assume the remaining 50% WI and become operator following any commercial discoveries.

Santos basin turns up fresh presalt find

Petrobras has confirmed the discovery of "good-quality" oil with its third ultra-deepwater well drilled in the transfer of rights area in the presalt Santos basin. The 1-BRSA-1045-SPS (1-SPS-96) well was drilled in the southern portion of the Sapinho? field in the Sul de Guar? area. The company has the right to produce up to 319 MMboe. This discovery was drilled in 2,202 m (7,225 ft) water depth approximately 320 km (~ 200 miles) off the coast of S?o Paulo state. The find confirmed oil rated at about 27? API via wireline tests obtained from carbonate reservoirs below the salt layer.


Deep water dominates GoM sale

Central US Gulf of Mexico (GoM) lease sale 216/222 drew US $1.7 billion in winning bids, with deep water and ultra-deep water dominating the sale. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the sale attracted 593 bids from 56 companies on 454 tracts. The sum of all bids received totaled $2.6 billion. The acreage offered included 7,434 tracts in water depths ranging from 3 m to 3,400 m (10 ft to 11,200 ft). With a total of 221 winning bids for blocks in more than 800 m (2,625 ft) water depth (and with the majority of them – 146 – in more than 1,600 m [5,249 ft] water depth), the sale was a clear statement of intent by operators to continue stepping up exploration activity in the GoM. The high bid on a tract was for $157.1 million by Statoil for the Mississippi Canyon (MC) 718 deepwater block, while Shell submitted the highest total amount in bonus bids of $406.6 million on 24 tracts.

Harpoon set for launch

Statoil is planning to spud a new well on the Harpoon prospect offshore Canada before year-end 2012 using Seadrill's West Aquarius rig. The company has been active in the Grand Banks area, focused on the Flemish Pass basin. Statoil already has the Mizzen deepwater discovery in this frontier area and has three slots booked on the West Aquarius rig, starting with Harpoon. Offshore Alaska, the company is maturing the Amundsen prospect toward a possible drill date in 2014, along with an impact-size prospect called Devils Paw. It also has a 25% stake in 50 other licenses operated by ConocoPhillips.


Norway offers Barents Sea acreage

Norway has kicked off its 22nd licensing round with a total of 86 blocks and part-blocks available for bid, including 72 in the harsh-environment Barents Sea frontier. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate received a record 228 block nominations in January from 37 companies, with much of the Barents Sea interest sparked by Statoil's recent discoveries Skrugard (7220/8-1) and Havis, which together contain reserves estimated to be between 400 MMboe and 600 MMboe. The deadline for bid submissions is Dec. 4, 2012, with awards to be made before mid-2013. The other 14 blocks and part-blocks are in the Norwegian Sea.

King Lear crowned in North Sea

Statoil has made a significant gas and condensate discovery on the King Lear prospect in Production Licenses 146 and 333 in the southern sector of the Norwegian North Sea. The company holds a 77.8% operating stake, with partner Total holding the remaining 22.2%. The 2/4-21 well encountered volumes estimated to be between 70 MMboe and 200 MMboe in one 48-m (157-ft) gas/condensate column and an additional 70-m (230-ft) column in a sidetrack. The HP/HT well was drilled in 67 m (220 ft) water depth by the Maersk Gallant jackup rig to a vertical depth of 5,344 m (17,534 ft). King Lear lies adjacent to the Ekofisk license and confirms the deep gas/condensate prospectivity of the whole area.

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A 3-D survey that began in May using the 10-streamer vessel Polarcus Nadia has passed the 1,500-sq km (579-sq mile) mark offshore Namibia. (Image courtesy of Polarcus)


Serica completes Namibian obligations

London-based independent Serica Energy has completed its seismic survey obligations for a frontier deepwater block offshore Namibia. The company was formally awarded the rights to the 17,400-sq-km (6,718-sq-mile) license in the Central Luderitz basin in December 2011 and in March reached agreement with BP for the UK major to earn a 30% interest by meeting the full cost of a 4,150-sqkm (1,602-sq-mile) 3-D seismic acquisition program. The survey is expected to last through the summer. BP also has an option to acquire a further 37.5% of the license by drilling and testing a well. Serica retains a 55% interest in the license and is operator.

Atum adds to Mozambique's gas riches

Anadarko Petroleum has made another discovery in the Rovuma basin offshore Mozambique with its latest wildcat on the Atum prospect, which encountered more than 92 m (300 ft) of natural gas pay. The find further expands the company's plans for a major LNG hub in East Africa. The company estimates its total recoverable gas reserves in Offshore Area 1 now range between 30 Tcf and 60 Tcf, with the total upside for the permit approaching 100 Tcf.

Paon prize extends Ghana play

Tullow Oil and its partners successfully extended the highly productive exploration play offshore Ghana where they have made several major oil and gas discoveries, including the giant Jubilee field, into neighboring C?te d'Ivoire offshore West Africa. The company's Paon-1X exploration well (45%) in the CI-103 license intersected "good-quality" light oil in a Turonian fan system. The first deepwater exploration well drilled in the license, the Paon discovery encountered 31 m (102 ft) of net oil pay in a gross interval of 74 m (243 ft) of turbidite sands. The company said pressure data indicate the interval contains a continuous hydrocarbon column, and samples show it is a light oil of 41°API. Ocean Rig's Eirik Raude semisubmersible rig drilled the Paon-1X well to 5,090 m (16,700 ft) TD in 2,193 m (7,195 ft) water depth.


ATP hits paydirt offshore Israel

ATP Oil & Gas and its wholly owned subsidiary ATP East Med B.V. have confirmed a gas discovery in the Levant basin offshore Israel. The deepwater Shimshon well encountered more than 19 m (62 ft) of natural gas pay in the Bet Guvrin sands. The well was drilled in 1,104 m (3,622 ft) water depth to 4,403 m (14,445 ft) TD. The company expects to provide additional information about the discovery during 3Q 2012. ATP East Med operates the well with a 40% working interest, and its partners are Isramco Negev 2 LP (39%), Naphtha Exploration Ltd. Partnership (10%), INOC Dead Sea LP (10%), and I.O.C.-Israel (1%).

GeoGlobal spins bit in deepwater Israel

Canadian-based independent GeoGlobal Resources Inc. is under way with its first deepwater wildcat as operator offshore Israel. The Noble Homer Ferrington semisubmersible rig is drilling on the Myra prospect in Block 347. The Myra-1 well is scheduled to take 70 days to drill to the target strata, and the results are due three months after completion. The Myra well is targeting strata at a depth of 3,700 m (12,140 ft) in 1,500 m (4,921 ft) water depth.


Notice submitted for Absheron discovery

A "notice of discovery and its commerciality" for the offshore Absheron discovery in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea has been submitted by operator Total E&P Absheron. The notice is a confirmation of the importance of the discovery, which was announced in September 2011. The Absheron X-2 well was drilled in 474 m (1,555 ft) water depth and reached a depth of 6,874 m (22,550 ft). One of the hydrocarbon-bearing intervals was tested at 960,000 cm/d of nonassociated gas. During this production test, nearly 2,500 b/d (400 cm/d) of a 42.5° API condensate also were produced. The well results indicate gas resources between 5 Tcf to 10 Tcf of nonassociated gas with condensates in the Balakhany and Fasila formations on the northern compartment of the structure. The cumulative net pay is greater than 160 m (525 ft) thick.

Lundin kicks off Malaysian campaign

Lundin Petroleum has kicked off its 2012 Malaysian drilling campaign with its Tiga Papan 5 well offshore Sabah, East Malaysia. The well will target mid-Miocene sands of the Tiga Papan unit previously tested in 1982. The original discovery well flowed at a cumulative rate of 5,631 b/d of oil. The well will be drilled using the Offshore Courageous jackup rig in approximately 58 m (190 ft) water depth to 1,670 m (5,480 ft) below sea level.