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Regional Update


The drillship Ocean Rig Athena is preparing to drill appraisal and exploration wells offshore Senegal for a joint venture (JV) led by Cairn Energy. Two wells will appraise the SNE discovery, which was ranked by IHS CERA as the world’s largest for oil last year. An exploration well will also be drilled in the Bellatrix prospect, for which mapping has indicated a potential 168 million bbl of oil resources. Cairn holds a 40% interest in the JV, with remaining interests held by ConocoPhillips (35%), FAR (15%), and Petrosen (10%).

The Ksiri West-A exploration well drilled by Circle Oil on the Sebou permit onshore Morocco has flowed gas at a rate of 8 MMcf/D following tests. Reaching a total depth of 6,200 ft, the well perforated its primary Main Hoot target interval from 5,964 ft to 5,993 ft. It is being readied for production. Circle holds a 75% interest in the permit and Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines holds the remaining 25% interest.


Indian Oil Corp. said it had allocated USD 5 billion over the next 5 to 7 years to expand its exploration and production business to capitalize on the more affordable prices for upstream assets resulting from lower oil prices. The largest refiner and fuel retailer in India, the company plans to participate in international and domestic auctions of hydrocarbon acreage.

OMV discovered natural gas at the Latif South-1 well in the Latif exploration license in Pakistan. During testing, the well flowed at a rate of 15 MMcf/D (2,500 BOEPD). Appraisal work is needed to confirm the size of the discovery. OMV holds a 33.4% interest in the license with Pakistan Petroleum and Eni each holding 33.3% interest.

An industry report cited by Sinopec estimated that proved reserves have nearly tripled at the Fuling project, the largest shale gas discovery in China. The report said that newly proved reserves for the Jiaoshiba block in the Chongqing municipality of southwest China total 273.8 billion m3. The estimate would raise Fuling’s proved reserves figure certified by the Ministry of Land and Resources to 380.6 billion m3.


Pilot Energy said that an independent audit of prospective oil resources for its WA-507-P exploration permit offshore Western Australia has confirmed the potential for multimillion-barrel oil discoveries. The audit findings by Gaffney, Cline & Associates supplement Pilot’s previous announcement of a confirmed potential for multi-Tcf natural gas discoveries in the permit, located in the Carnarvon Basin. Pilot holds an 80% working interest in the permit, and Black Swan Resources holds the remaining interest.

The first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Gladstone LNG project in Australia has been delivered to Korea Gas (Kogas). Operated by Santos, the Queensland-based project produces natural gas from coal seams and converts it to LNG for shipment to buyers, mostly in Asia. Santos holds a 30% interest in the project with the other interests held by Petronas (27.5%), Total (27.5%), and Kogas (15%).


Lukoil discovered a natural gas field in the Trident block (EX-30) offshore Romania. The Lira 1X well was drilled to an 8,858-ft depth by the deepwater semisubmersible GSF Development Driller II and has been temporarily abandoned for the evaluation of the discovery. Seismic data have suggested that the field could hold more than 1.05 Tcf of gas reserves. Lukoil holds a 72% interest in the project with the other interests held by PanAtlantic Petroleum (18%) and Societatea Nationale de Gaze Naturale Romgaz (10%).

UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) said that a study has calculated a gross best estimate of 15.7 billion bbl of oil in place (OIP) to lie in three Jurassic shale and interbedded limestone tight oil plays underlying the company’s license areas in the Weald Basin. Reservoir intelligence firm Nutech reported that a net OIP estimate of 3.9 billion bbl is attributable to UKOG’s eight license interests in the basin in southern England. OIP calculations are not reserves estimates. Further study is needed to assess the recoverability of oil from the basin and the rate of recovery.

Middle East

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) said the gross proved and probable reserves at its Shaikan oil field in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is estimated to be 639 million bbl. The estimate is more than double the previous gross estimate of 299 million bbl. Discovered in 2009, the field is considered to have the potential to produce 100,000 B/D. The independent report findings could help GKP lower its field development costs.

North America

Noble Energy’s Big Bend and Dantzler field projects in the US Gulf of Mexico moved toward startup by year-end as 8-in. steel catenary risers, eight 100-ton subsea structures, and 40 miles of pipe-in-pipe flowlines were installed by EMAS AMC. In water depths ranging from about 6,600 ft to 7,300 ft, the fields will be subsea tiebacks to the Murphy-operated Thunder Hawk semisubmersible platform in Mississippi Canyon Block 734. Noble holds working interests of 54% in Big Bend and 45% in Dantzler. Gross combined production is expected to reach 40,000 BOEPD.

South America

Petrobras said that a third exploratory well found light oil in the Carcara offshore discovery in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil, confirming that the find extends well beyond the initial discovery. The Carcara NW well lies 5.5 km (3.4 miles) northwest of the initial discovery well and was drilled to a depth of 2 km. When discovered in 2012, Carcara was the biggest oil column ever found in Brazil’s pre-salt region. Petrobras, the operator, holds a 66% interest in the area with the remaining interests held by Galp Energia (14%), Barra Energia do Brasil Petroleo e Gas (10%), and Queiroz Galvao Exploracao e Producao (10%).

Compania General de Combustibles (CGC) discovered a natural gas deposit in the Santa Cruz province of Argentina. The Morena Sur well tested at an initial rate of 3.5 MMcf/D. The company estimates that the discovery could increase its reserves in the Austral Basin of Patagonia by 40 Bcf to 50 Bcf.