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Regional Update


  • Chariot Oil & Gas acquired operatorship and 75% equity interests in two exploration blocks some 30 miles offshore Morocco—Loukos and Casablanca/Safi—from Maghreb Petroleum Exploration in return for taking on work commitments and obligations in the initial exploration phase of each license. The Moroccan Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines holds the licenses’ remaining 25%.


  • Two China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) oil fields, Weizhou 11-2 and Weizhou 6-9/6-10, commenced production. Both are independent fields located in Beibu Gulf in the South China Sea. Weizhou 11-2 is in an average water depth of 116 ft, with four producing wells, and Weizhou 6-9/6-10 is in an average water depth of 107 ft, with nine producing wells. CNOOC (100%) is operator.


  • Commercial shale gas production commenced in Australia, with the connection of the Moomba-191 shale gas well in the Cooper Basin to the eastern Australian states’ gas grid. The well is 350 m from the existing pipeline network and 8 km from Moomba’s gas-processing plant. Santos (67%) is operator of the South Australian Cooper Basin Joint Venture, with Beach Energy (20%) and Origin Energy (13%).
  • Senex Energy said initial production testing at the Mustang-1 oil exploration well in South Australian Cooper Basin permit PEL 111 has confirmed excellent oil-production potential, free-flowing at a rate of 6,700 BOPD during clean up, and at a controlled rate of around 800 BOPD during a 10-day production test. Senex (60%) is operator of PEL 111, with Beach Energy (40%).
  • Europe

  • Mid-October, the new 700-tonne processing unit for the Kinnoull and Andrew Lower Cretaceous reservoirs, built in Hartlepool, England, was successfully installed onto BP’s Andrew platform, 143 miles northwest of Aberdeen in the UK central North Sea. The Kinnoull field is one of three reservoirs being developed as part of the rejuvenation of the Andrew area, with the aim of extending production a further decade. In order to access the new reservoir, the project has installed a new subsea system and caisson onto the Andrew platform. BP (77.06%) is operator, with Eni (16.67%) and JX Nippon (6.27%).
  • Lundin Petroleum’s 6201/11-3 exploration well targeting the Albert prospect, on Norwegian production license 519 about 40 miles northwest of the Snorre field in the northern North Sea, has found oil. The well, drilled to a total depth of 9,760 ft below sea level, encountered oil in the thin Cretaceous reservoir sequence at the predicted level for the primary target. Lundin (40%) operates the license, with Spring Energy (20%), Noreco (20%), and Bayerngas (20%).

Middle East

  • OAO Lukoil Holdings said the Iraq government approved the geologic exploration, development, and production contract for Block 10 in the south of the country, located 100 km from the company’s West Qurna-2 field. Lukoil has a 60% stake in Block 10. Japan’s Inpex holds the other 40%.
  • Kuwait Energy’s Ahmad-2 well, located in the Area A license in the Gulf of Suez, Egypt, adjacent to the Shukheir North West field, encountered oil in the Rudeis formation. Initial tests showed a production flow rate of 1,300 BOPD. Kuwait Energy (70%) is the operator of the Area A license under a service agreement with Egypt’s General Petroleum Company, with Petrogas E&P (30%) of Oman.

North America

  • Pemex found a second significant crude-oil deposit in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). With the new Supremo deposit, Pemex expects to book new oil reserves of up to 125 million bbl, using the broadest measurement of proven, probable, and possible reserves. The Supremo exploratory well, drilled in 2900 m of water to a depth of 1100 m below the seafloor, is 250 km east of the Gulf port of Matamoros on the border with the US and 40 km south of Mexico’s maritime border with the US.
  • BP capped and plugged an abandoned piece of subsea equipment known as a cofferdam believed to be the source of a recent surface oil sheen observed near Mississippi Canyon 252 Block in the GOM off Louisiana. The cofferdam is a 40-ft-tall, 86-ton, steel container that was lowered in 2010 over a leaking drill pipe during oil-spill response efforts following the deepwater Macondo well blowout. It failed its purpose and was moved and abandoned 500 m from the wellhead.

South America

  • Petrobras completed drilling well 3-BRSA-1101-SPS (3-SPS-100), informally known as Carioca Norte, located in Block BM-S-9 in the BRSA-49-SPS assessment area in the Santos Basin at a water depth of 7,060 ft, 171 miles off the coast of Sao Paulo. The new well reached a total depth of 18,294 ft and confirmed an oil column of 272 ft in carbonate rock of the presalt with good permo-porosity. Petrobras (45%) is operator, with BG E&P Brasil (30%) and Repsol Sinopec Brasil (25%).
  • Suriname’s state oil company Staatsolie signed a production-sharing agreement with Apache to explore and maybe produce crude from Block 53, which lies about 130 km northwest of the capital, Paramaribo. Under the 30-year deal, Apache will invest USD 230 million, including carrying out 3D-seismic research and drilling at least two wells, and will be reimbursed if the production of commercial reserves begins. Staatsolie can take a stake of up to 20% in the project’s development stage.
  • Drilling has commenced on a second unconventional shale exploration well on the 155-km2 Los Toldos II Block located in the Neuquen Basin of Argentina. The plan is to drill the Agua de Afuera (ADA.x-1) well, located about 9.3 km west of the LTE.x-1 well, as a vertical well to a total depth of about 3350 m. The Vaca Muerta shale is the principal target, along with conventional secondary targets such as the Mulichinco, Tordillo, and Quintuco formations. Americas Petrogas (45%) is the operator, with ExxonMobil (45%) and Gas y Petroleo del Neuquen (10%).