Phillips Petroleum has won the prize block in Norway's North Sea 2000 licensing round. It was granted operations and a 40% interest on Block 35/1, northeast of Snorre and Visund fields. Its partners in the acreage are Enterprise Oil and Agip, each with 30% interests. In all, 11 companies received offers from the petroleum and energy ministry to explore for and produce petroleum in 15 blocks in the North Sea. Some fresh faces were among the group: RWE-DEA won operatorship for the first time, taking 51% of Block 35/3. Aker Maritime, new to Norway, was awarded the remaining 49%. Enterprise Oil scored with its first operatorship, receiving a 40% share in blocks 26/1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8, and 31/10 and 11. Additionally, it was awarded 30% in Statoil-operated blocks 16/2 and 3. Long-time player Conoco received operations and a 40% interest in blocks 34/5, 6 and 9. Nonoperated interests in the various licenses were also conferred to Exxon Mobil, Norsk Hydro, Chevron and Fortum. This year, average oil production on the Norwegian continental shelf is expected to increase by about 130,000 barrels per day from 2000 levels to approximately 3.4 million barrels per day. Gas exports will rise as well, from about 51 billion standard cubic meters in 2000 to 57 billion in 2001. 1 Canada Columbia Natural Resources Canada Ltd. , a subsidiary of West Virginia-based NiSource , has found oil in New Brunswick, reports Calgary-based consulting firm Canadian Discovery Ltd. During the past few months, the company has completed four successful wells near the city of Moncton. The Taylor Village #2 and #3 and the Albert Mines #4 and #L-44 were drilled to depths ranging from 3,000 to 6,700 ft. to test the Mississippian-age Albert formation. Currently, Columbia and its partners are production testing the wells, and drilling two additional tests. Also in the region, Exxon Mobil Canada , Gulf Canada Resources and Murphy Oil are drilling the Bandol #1 well in French-controlled waters off the coast of Newfoundland. Potential targets in the area include roll-over anticlines and salt diapirs trapping Jurassic or Lower Cretaceous-age deltaic or turbidite gas-charged sands. 2 Canada Talisman Energy Inc. has been successful with a horizontal underbalanced drilling program in the Lovett River area of west-central Alberta. The Calgary-based firm has been targeting Mississippian-age gas-bearing thrust sheets at depths of approximately 13,300 ft. Four wells completed during fourth-quarter 2000 tested at rates of between 9- and 15 million cu. ft. of gas per day. 3 Canada A significant gas discovery in the Townsend area of northeastern British Columbia has been made by Tethys Energy Inc. and Petro-Canada Oil & Gas , both of Calgary. The PC Kobes, c-97-G/94-B-9, tested 11.4 million cu. ft. of gas, likely from a Mississippian-age thrust-sheet accumulation at approximately 7,400 ft. Canadian Discovery Ltd. notes that a well seven miles southeast has produced more than 25 billion cu. ft. of gas from equivalent-age strata. Delineation drilling is expected to continue this summer. 4 U.K. North Sea The U.K. government has approved the $75-million development of Hannay Field, located in Block 20/5c. Estimated recoverable reserves are 8 million bbl. of oil on the Talisman Energy -operated accumulation. A horizontal well will be tied back to the Buchan Alpha facility, 13.5 kilometers to the southeast. First production is expected in November at a rate of 12,000 bbl. of oil per day. Talisman operates the field and holds an 86% working interest, EDC (Europe) Ltd. holds 13%, and First Oil Expro Ltd. holds 1%. Additionally, Talisman says it plans to redevelop Beatrice Field in Block 11/30a. The $70-million project will extend the life of the field by another five to 10 years, and was made possible by the U.K. government's agreement to lower its royalties. The company will replace 60 kilometers of old pipeline, refurbish the Bravo platform and drill new two wells. Production is expected to average 10,000 bbl. of oil per day from Beatrice, in which Talisman holds a 100% working interest. 5 U.K. North Sea Conoco Inc. has made a natural gas find in the southern sector of the U.K. North Sea, between Murdoch and Caister fields in blocks 44/22a and 44/23a. The well was drilled in 131 ft. of water and encountered approximately 170 ft. of net pay in the Carboniferous Westphalian formation. When developed, Conoco says the discovery could yield more than 80 billion cu. ft. of gas. The company is evaluating the accumulation as part of its Caister Murdoch System III development program of five natural gas fields. Partners in Block 44/22a are Conoco, the operator and 54.5% owner; Tullow Exploration Ltd. , with 34%; and GDF Britain Ltd. , with 11.5%. In Block 44/23a, Conoco operates and owns 30%; Consort Resources Ltd. owns 49%; and GDF Britain Ltd. , 21%. 6 Cote d'Ivoire Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources has discovered oil in offshore block CI-40 through its Ranger Oil subsidiary. The Baobab-1X well, drilled to a total depth of 3,074 meters in 1,484 meters of water, encountered hydrocarbons within the Albian formation. The combined flow on two drillstem tests exceeded 6,700 bbl. of oil per day; gravity of the crude was 22 to 23 degrees API. The discovery lies eight kilometers south of Espoir Field in Block CI-26. Canadian Natural operates the discovery and holds a 61% working interest; Petroci Holding owns 10%; and Svenska Petroleum Exploration Production , 29%. 7 Sudan Swedish firm Lundin Oil has discovered oil in its Thar Jath project in south-central Sudan. The Thar Jath #1, on Block 5A, was drilled to a total depth of 1,820 meters and encountered 63 meters of net pay over two sandstone reservoirs, the Bentiu and the Aradeiba. The well flowed at a cumulative rate of 4,260 bbl. of oil per day from three drillstem test over both zones. Lundin operates and holds a 40.4% working interest in the block; Austrian firm OMV (Sudan) Exploration has 26.1%; Malaysian company Petronas Carigali owns 28.5%; and local entity Sudapet holds 5%. Additional exploration is planned at the Jarayan-1 location, some 12 kilometers southeast of the current activity. 8 Oman State-controlled Petroleum Development of Oman says that it has discovered a major gas field in central Oman. The Kauther-1 well, drilled 30 miles south of the town of Adam in the al-Dakhillyah region, encountered a thick interval of gas-bearing sandstone at a depth of around 13,779 ft., according to the company. 9 Kazakhstan Eni reports that hydrocarbons have been detected at the Kashagan West-1 location, the second exploration well on the immense Kashagan feature in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea. The Kashagan West-1 was drilled to a depth of 16,180 ft. some 25 miles west of the initial discovery. After testing is completed on the well, the partners will begin appraisal drilling at Kashagan East. Eni, based in Italy, recently won the right to operate Kashagan, thought to be the world's largest oil discovery since Alaska's Prudhoe Bay find in 1969. Members of the North Caspian Sea Consortium are Eni, BG , BP , Exxon Mobil , Inpex , Phillips Petroleum , Shell , Statoil and TotalFinaElf . 10 China Noble Affiliates Inc. , Houston, subsidiary Energy Development Corp. (China) Inc. is acquiring a 50% interest in the Devon Energy Corp. -operated blocks 16/02, 16/05 and 26/35 in the Pearl River Mouth Basin in the South China Sea. Three wells are planned on the blocks, which encompass approximately 2 million acres. 11 Indonesia Gulf Indonesia Resources Ltd. , a subsidiary of Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. , has tested its Bukit Tua-1 oil discovery, in the Ketapang production sharing contract area offshore East Java, at a rate of 4,450 bbl. of oil per day. The test was over perforations between 6,346-86 ft. A previous test over a cased interval between 6,466-88 ft. flowed approximately 2,800 bbl. of oil per day. The firm plans further testing on shallower zones in the well. Gulf Indonesia holds a 50% working interest in the Ketapang PSC and Petronas Carigali holds the remaining 50%. 12 Malaysia Amerada Hess Corp. , New York, has made its first oil and gas discovery in Malaysia. The Cendor-1 well, about 155 kilometers offshore in Block PM304, was drilled in 63 meters of water to a depth of 1,790 meters. It tested at a rate of 2,840 bbl. of 42-degree oil per day from a single zone. One other selected zone flowed natural gas at a stabilized rate in excess of 5 million cu. ft. per day. Amerada Hess operates the block and owns a 65.5% interest, Petronas Carigali owns 30% and Petrovietnam , 4.5%. 13 Australia Woodside Petroleum Ltd. and Phillips Petroleum Co. have agreed to jointly develop their Timor Sea gas fields. Phillips will acquire a 16.39% stake from Woodside in the Greater Sunrise fields, raising its stake to 30%, and Woodside gains a conditional option to buy up to 5% of Phillips' nearby Bayu-Undan fields. By working together, the partners hope to develop the fields more quickly and cheaply. Following the deal, Woodside will have a 33.4% stake in Sunrise; Phillips will hold 30%; Shell , 26.56%; and Osaka Gas , 10%. Current ownerships in Bayu-Undan are Phillips, with 50.3%; Petroz NL , with 8.3%; Santos Ltd. , with 11.8%; Inpex , with 11.7%; Kerr-McGee Corp. , with 11.2%; and Eni , 6.7%.