India hopes to attract strong worldwide interest in the second round of its leasing program under a new exploration and licensing policy. To spark activity, it has included several attractive blocks in its choice deepwater areas off its western coast, in the Gujurat-Saurashtra, Mumbai and Kerala-Konkan basins. All told, India is offering 25 blocks-eight deepwater tracts, eight shallow water tracts, and nine onshore blocks. The acreage on offer varies from heavily explored to unexplored. In 13 blocks, new seismic data have been integrated with earlier data, revealing a fresh set of plays. In 11 blocks, reinterpretation and reprocessing of existing seismic lines have improved play definition and identification. Further, a 6,215-square-kilometer block in the Upper Assam Basin is completely unexplored. India's petroleum and gas ministry will evaluate the bids based on partners' technical and financial capabilities, the proposed work program and the fiscal package. It notes that its terms are highly competitive and flexible, with no up-front payments or bonuses required. Seismic options will be entertained, and the work programs can be bid in terms of proposed activities and their timing, rather than in the form of expenditures. Bidding closes at the end of March, and awards are expected to follow within seven months. In the last year, India has signed 27 production-sharing contracts under NELP-1, versus a total of 23 during the past decade. 1 Canada Calgary-based PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd. 's third appraisal well at Deep Panuke, the M-79A, flowed 63 million cu. ft. of gas per day. The 15,105-ft. well, about three kilometers east of the Panuke platform, was sidetracked horizontally in the main reservoir section and encountered 360 ft. of net pay. PanCanadian previously drilled one exploration and two other appraisal wells, each testing at least 50 million cu. ft. a day, which was the capacity of the equipment. Meanwhile, its F-09 exploration well, on a structure separate from Deep Panuke, was plugged and abandoned. 2 Colombia London-based Emerald Energy has signed two association contracts with Ecopetrol. The 295-square-kilometer Campoalegre Block, in which Emerald has a 100% working interest in the Upper Magdalena Valley, is adjacent to and on trend with Emerald's Matambo Block. The Capote Block, in which Emerald also has 100% working interest, is in the Middle Magdalena Valley and covers 151 square kilometers. 3 Brazil Japan National Oil Corp. , Indonesia Petroleum Ltd. and Nissho Iwai Corp. have formed a joint venture, Inpex Offshore North Campos Ltd. , to explore offshore blocks BC-4 and Frade in the Campos Basin. The firms hold a 12.75% interest in the concession; other owners are Texaco Inc. and Petrobras . The operators plan to jointly drill one exploratory well and five appraisal wells in the blocks this year and next. 4 Argentina Dallas-based Pioneer Natural Resources Co. 's BBG-21 well in the Neuquen Basin flowed at the rate of 785 bbl. of oil and 440,000 cu. ft. of gas per day from a depth of 5,100 ft. Pioneer, the 100% interest owner, has drilled 17 productive wells in Bajo Barda Gonzalez Field with an average initial daily production of 372 bbl. of oil equivalent per well. The BBG-12 well, the most prolific, produced at an initial rate of 1,033 bbl. of oil equivalent per day. The company expects to drill 10 to 20 additional wells in the field this year. 5 Yemen Occidental Petroleum Corp. has signed a production sharing agreement to explore for oil on Block 44 in the Hadramaut province, central Yemen. The 6,335-square-kilometer block is immediately north of Occidental's interests in the Masila and East Shabwa projects, where combined production is more than 250,000 bbl. per day. Occidental, which will operate the block and hold a 75% working interest, says the exploration phase will take three years. Drilling will begin in early 2003. The remaining 25% percent is held by Ansan Wikfs Ltd. , a Yemeni company. The national oil company will also take a 7% carried interest if commercial quantities of oil are discovered in the block. 6 Poland Houston-based Apache Corp. reported that a preliminary open-hole test of its Tuchola 108-2 wildcat on the Pomeranian Concession in northwest Poland flowed 9.5 million cu. ft. of natural gas per day, the limit of the surface equipment. The discovery, Apache's first well on the concession, is in the well's secondary objective, a 200-ft.-thick gross pay interval of the Permian Main Dolomite formation between 8,318 and 8,514 ft. measured depth. It was tested on a 26/64-in. choke. Drilling will continue toward the primary objective, the Devonian sandstone. Apache is operator and has a 42.5% interest; other working-interest-holders are FX Energy , 42.5%, and Polish Oil & Gas Co. , 15%. 7 India U.K. firm Cairn Energy Plc has made a third discovery offshore western India. The Gauri discovery on Block CB-OS/2 tested at a rate of 39.2 million cu. ft. of gas and 1,039 bbl. of oil per day. The exploration well CB-C-1, some 25 kilometers west of the Lakshmi gas discovery, reached a total depth of 1,600 meters and encountered several hydrocarbon pay zones below 798 meters. An appraisal program is planned for the first half of this year; initial estimates of gross reserves are 100- to 300 billion cu. ft. of gas equivalent. Cairn has a 75% stake in the joint venture, with state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Tata Petrodyne. 8 Thailand Royal Dutch/Shell Group is reviving oil production from its Nang Nuan Field in Block B6/27 in the Gulf of Thailand after a three-year closure that was caused by technical problems. Shell expects to spend $8 million on drilling and several million more on the offshore production facilities. The field was discovered in December 1987. 9 Vietnam Soco Vietnam has won a joint-venture contract for the exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas in Block 9-2 in the offshore Cuu Long Basin. Soco will hold a 50% interest; Petrovietnam , 50%. Water depth is 40 to 60 meters on the 1,370-square-kilometer block. It is bordered on the west by Bach Ho (White Tiger) Field, which is currently producing 225,000 bbl. of oil per day. 10 Malaysia El Dorado, Ark.-based Murphy Oil Corp. has drilled and tested its first well in Malaysia. The West Patricia 2 exploration well, offshore Sarawak, tested 2,900 bbl. of oil from a single zone at 3,021 ft. Drilled on Block SK309 in 110 ft. of water to a total depth of 7,054 ft., the well also tested commercial quantities of gas from two other intervals. Murphy operates the 1.1-million-acre block and owns an 85% interest; Petronas Carigali ,15%. The partners also hold adjoining Block SK311. 11 Indonesia Unocal Corp. has drilled a discovery on its Ranggas prospect in the southern portion of the Rapak production-sharing contact area, offshore East Kalimantan. The Ranggas-1 well was drilled to a total depth of 11,845 ft. in 5,303 ft. of water. The well encountered 250 ft. of gas pay and 40 ft. of oil pay. The discovery well is on a new geologic structure some 28 miles southeast of West Seno Field. Unocal holds an 80% working interest in the prospect; Lasmo Plc , 20%. 12 Australia Tokyo-based Indonesia Petroleum has apparently made a significant discovery in WA-285-P, some 440 kilometers north of Broome. The firm has drilled three appraisal wells in its Brewster project offsetting a 1980 discovery. In mid-2000, the Dinichthys-1, drilled to a total depth of 4,562 meters, flowed 22 million cu. ft. of gas and 1,300 bbl. of condensate per day from Plover sands through a 40/64-in. choke. The Gorgonichthys-1 also intersected thick gas-bearing sands, and is currently being reentered and tested from the deeper Plover reservoir. The third well, the Titanichthys-1, recently flowed gas and condensate from the Brewster sands but the results are still tight. Inpex is 50% owned by Japan National Oil Corp. and 26 other Japanese companies. In other activity, Shell Development Australia Pty Ltd . says its Iago 1 well offshore Western Australia found a significant hydrocarbon column. The well was drilled to a total depth of 3,383 meters in 118 meters of water on Permit WA-25-P, between Gorgon Field and the North West Shelf gas reserves. Shell, Chevron (the operator) and Exxon Mobil Corp. each have a 28.57% interest in Permit WA-25-P; Texaco Inc. , 14.29%. 13 New Zealand Swift Energy Co. has successfully logged the Upper Tariki sandstone in the Rimu-A2 well, its third delineation well in the Taranaki Basin. The company plans to drill an additional 1,640 ft. to evaluate the Lower Tariki sandstone at this location. The Rimu-A2 well has been logged to a total depth of 12,890 ft. and confirms the presence of an Upper Tariki section of high-quality reservoir rock from 12,526 to 12,717 ft. Open-hole logs indicate approximately 89 ft. of net hydrocarbon thickness with an average porosity of 16%. Houston-based Swift operates and holds a 90% interest in the permit, which covers 100,652 net acres. Calgary-based Antrim Energy Inc. and Brisbane-based Bligh Oil & Minerals Ltd. each hold 5%.