CATEGORIZED | 2009, Departments, May/June

D&C News

Posted on 17 May 2009

StatoilHydro makes frontier Gulf of Mexico acquisitions

StatoilHydro has acquired a 40% stake in 50 blocks from BHP Billiton in the frontier DeSoto Canyon area of the US Gulf of Mexico. “DeSoto Canyon is a mostly unexplored region in the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico. Obtaining early access to new plays is regarded by the company as key to our success,” said StatoilHydro vice president of exploration for North America, Tony Dore. The company did a similar access deal with ExxonMobil in 2005 in the Walker Ridge Area of Central GOM.

DeSoto Canyon is located east of StatoilHydro’s current production operation at Independence Hub. The area has water depths of about 1,000 m.

2nd ENSCO 8500 series semi named

The ENSCO 8501 ultra-deepwater semisubmersible was recently named at the Keppel FELS shipyard in Singapore. It is the second in a series of seven deepwater semis to be constructed by Keppel FELS for ENSCO International. ENSCO 8501 is expected to go to work in the Gulf of Mexico for Noble Energy and Nexen Petroleum. The first deepwater rig, ENSCO 8500, was delivered in June 2008.

Dan Rabun, ENSCO chairman, president and CEO, said, “We expect to begin realising the benefit of our significant deepwater investment starting in the second quarter of 2009. The first of our seven new ENSCO 8500 series ultra-deepwater semis, ENSCO 8500, is currently undergoing deepwater sea trials prior to commencement of operations.

“With the expected addition of all seven new 8500 series deepwater rigs to our fleet by 2012, we anticipate that our deepwater segment will contribute approximately one-third of our revenue once all the new rigs are delivered and operational.”

Ocean Guardian contracted to drill offshore Ireland

AGR Petroleum Services has secured a contract worth £835,000 to execute a drilling programme on behalf of Serica Energy. As a result, AGR has contracted the semisubmersible Ocean Guardian from Diamond Offshore, which will be used to drill the Bandon exploration prospect off the west coast of Ireland in Licence PEL 01/06. Offshore operations are scheduled to start in early May 2009 and are expected to continue for approximately six weeks.

Atwood Richmond awarded GOM 1-well deal

Atwood Oceanics announced that the Richmond has been awarded a contract by Applied Drilling Technology to drill one well in the US Gulf of Mexico at a dayrate of $52,500. The well, estimated to take 40 days to complete, will be drilled immediately following the completion of the rig’s current contract, which is expected to terminate in late April 2009 or early May 2009. The Richmond is the company’s only rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Eni Norge selects Sevan FPSO 1000 for Goliat project

After an evaluation of the FEED design competition, Eni Norge has selected the Sevan FPSO 1000 concept for the Goliat development project. Sevan Marine was also selected for the project’s FPSO post-FEED engineering, which is expected to be completed during 2009. The Sevan 1000 is capable of handling the harsh demands of the Barents Sea. Its design also focused on minimizing operational discharges to sea. The facility will be provided with electrical power supply from shore to reduce emission of greenhouse gases.

Deepwater Shenzi field starts production

First oil and natural gas production commenced from the Shenzi development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, BHP Billiton announced in late March. The TLP has a nominal capacity of 100,000 bbl/day and 50 million cu ft/day of natural gas. The Shenzi facility is located approximately 120 miles off the Louisiana coastline and is installed in approximately 4,300 ft of water on Green Canyon Block 653, making it the second-deepest TLP in the world. Along with the Neptune field, Shenzi is the second BHP-operated, standalone deepwater facility in the GOM.

Dhirubhai 1, 3 discoveries begin gas production

Reliance Industries commenced gas production from the Dhirubhai 1 and 3 discoveries of the KG-D6 block in the Krishna Godavari Basin. This marks the commissioning of the world’s largest deepwater production facility in the same block in which Reliance discovered oil reserves (Dhirubhai – 26) and commissioned trial production earlier. At peak production, the KG-D6 facility is expected to produce over 550,000 bbl/day of oil equivalent.

Reliance started KG-D6 gas production only six and a half years after discovery, compared with the world average of nine to 10 years for similar deepwater production facilities. This was achieved despite the hostile weather conditions common in the Bay of Bengal – storms, cyclones, waves up to 20 m in height and subsea currents of over 4 knots. Supply chain challenges and manpower shortages also had to be overcome.

Retrofitted drillship heads to offshore Ghana as petroleum agreement signed

The government of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC), Vanco Ghana and LUKOIL Overseas Ghana have signed a petroleum agreement covering the Cape Three Points Deepwater block. It allows Vanco and LUKOIL to continue exploration, with new 3D seismic and additional drilling activities planned. It also provides GNPC and the government of Ghana higher royalty and increased GNPC participation.
The Cape Three Points Deepwater block encompasses 5,146 sq km in water depths ranging from 200 m to 3,000 m in the Tano Basin.

The new agreement comes as the Aban Abraham deepwater drillship departs Cape Town, South Africa, after completing final retrofit operations to enable the unit to drill in water depths of up to 2,000 m. The Aban Abraham will mobilize to Ghana to commence the Dzata-1 exploratory well by the end of April 2009.

Situated in 1,874 m water depth, the Dzata Prospect is a large anticlinal structure with numerous Upper and Lower Cretaceous potential reservoir horizons and distinct direct hydrocarbon indicators, including flat spots and a “gas chimney.” The well will be drilled to a total depth of approximately 4,786 m, or 2,912 m below the mud line.

TOTAL, Cobalt to jointly explore GOM deepwater

TOTAL E&P USA has entered into agreements with Cobalt International Energy to jointly explore the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. These agreements will form the basis of a strategic alliance in the region. The exploration portfolios of both companies in the Gulf of Mexico – 122 exploration leases on Cobalt’s side, 80 exploration leases on TOTAL’s side, and 12 exploration leases already jointly owned – are expected to be generally shared on the basis of 60% for Cobalt and 40% for TOTAL.

Discoverer Clear Leader en route to Gulf of Mexico

Transocean’s Discoverer Clear Leader drillship left South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering (DSME) shipyard in late March, bound for Singapore. It will then change crews in Durban, South Africa, before arriving in the US Gulf of Mexico in about 60 days. After mobilization and customer acceptance, the rig will commence its five-year contract with Chevron.

The drillship is designed to drill wells up to 40,000 ft deep in up to 12,000 ft of water. It is the first of Transocean’s 10 ultra-deepwater newbuild rigs to leave the shipyard, including five enhanced Enterprise-class newbuild drillships.

Tullow Oil deepens Tweneboa-1 well

Tullow Oil announced that the Tweneboa-1 well offshore Ghana was deepened to 3,938 m and encountered 4 m of highly pressured oil-bearing sands, as well as an overpressured zone at TD. Further exploration drilling will be required to test the extent of the deeper levels and the shallower accumulation where seismic indicates sands thicken away from the well location. The well was drilled by the Eirik Raude in a water depth of 1,148 m about 25 km west of the Jubilee field.

Dali test completed; 3D seismic planned

Noble Energy announced flow test results from the Dalit natural gas discovery in the Michal license offshore Israel. Of the previously reported 110 ft of net pay identified, testing procedures were performed over a limited 43-ft section of the reservoir. The tests, which yielded a flow rate of 33 million cu ft/day of natural gas, were limited by testing equipment available on the rig. Performance modeling indicates the well can be ultimately completed to achieve a production rate of about 200 million cu ft/day. Based on log and test results, Dalit is estimated to contain gross mean resources of approximately 500 billion cu ft of natural gas. The company expects to begin acquiring 3D seismic within the next several months.

Eni makes discovery offshore Indonesia

Eni has made a new hydrocarbon discovery offshore Indonesia with an exploration well drilled on the Jangkrik structure, located in the Muara Bakau block Kutei Basin, east of Kalimantan.

The Jangkrik discovery, drilled in 400-m water depth, represents a significant success in Eni’s exploration efforts in the Kutei Basin. The company plans to proceed with appraisal and to assess the technical and commercial viability of a fast-track development of the new field.

In the Kutei Basin, Eni is also participating in the development of significant gas reserves in the Rapak and Ganal blocks. In the nearby Tarakan Basin, two other discoveries, Aster and Tulip, are in an advanced appraisal phase.

Eni holds overall working interests in 11 permits in Indonesia and operates six of them. The offshore activities are located in the deep waters of the Tarakan and Kutei basins and north of Sumatra Island. Other activities are in the Mahakam River Delta, East Kalimantan.

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