Asia Pacific

• China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) plans to ramp up spending by at least 40% in 2018 and raise production as a result of a more “suitable” oil price, the company said in a recent strategy presentation. Capital spending for 2018 is expected to range from between $11.1 billion and$12.7 billion, compared with about $7.6 billion in 2017. CNOOC forecast that net oil and gas production would rise to between 470 million BOE and 480 million BOE from approximately 469 million BOE last year. The production guidance was based on an average price of$53/bbl for Brent crude oil. Company 2019 and 2020 production forecasts are for 485 million BOE and 500 million BOE, respectively.

• ExxonMobil has confirmed the presence of high-quality, hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs after drilling the onshore P’nyang South-2 well in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. Results are under evaluation by the company and its coventurers, which include operator Oil Search. Located in the 105,000-acre petroleum retention license 3, the well was drilled to a depth of 8,940 ft and reached hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs in the Toro and Digimu sandstones, in line with predrilling expectations. ExxonMobil said the well confirms the southeast extension of the P’nyang field. Oil Search has a 38.5% interest in the exploration block, with ExxonMobil (49%) and JX Nippon (12.5%) holding the remaining stakes.

• Melbana Energy has spudded the Pukatea-1 exploration well onshore New Zealand. The well is being drilled by the Nova-1 rig, from the same drilling pad as the Puka-1 and Puka-2 wells. Drilling is primarily targeting the Tikorangi Limestone with the well having a planned total depth of approximately 10,400 ft. Pukatea-1 is in permit PEP 51153. The company has a 30% interest in the well, in which operator TAG Oil holds the remaining stake.

• Latin America-Caribbean

• Petrobras is making “interesting discoveries” in blocks of the Campos Basin offshore Rio de Janeiro, CEO Pedro Parente said in a recent investor presentation in São Paulo. The discoveries have been in mature, company-operated fields where Petrobras has recently drilled deeper to reach the presalt layer. Parente would not give details about volumes, saying that further analysis is needed. “It is interesting because these findings happened in fields with good geological characteristics,” he said. “We need now to complete initial data from drilling with geological and geophysical studies.”

• Middle East-North Africa

• SDX Energy has discovered natural gas at its ONZ-7 development well on the Sebou permit in Morocco. Drilled to a total depth of 3,829 ft, the well encountered 16.4 ft of net conventional gas pay in the Hoot formation. Reservoir quality at the well exceeded initial expectations, encountering porosity in the pay section of 35.3%, the company said. The well was being completed and tested. SDX has a 75% working interest in the permit.

• Zion Oil & Gas’ management is “optimistically enthusiastic” about the impending drilling results of the Megiddo‑Jezreel #1 (MJ#1) well onshore Israel, CEO Victor G. Carillo said recently. The well was at an approximate depth of 15,193 ft at the time of the comment and was expected to reach a total depth of 16,733 ft. Final wireline logs were being run and lower casing was being set. The company was making final decisions about the well testing program, which is expected to take place in late March or April.

• Northern Europe

• BP has made discoveries in the United Kingdom North Sea at Capercaillie in Block 29/4e and Achmelvich in Block 206/9b. Located in the Central North Sea, the Capercaillie well was drilled to a total depth of 12,303 ft and encountered light oil and gas-condensate in Paleocene and Cretaceous reservoirs. Located west of the Shetland Islands, the Achmelvich well was drilled to a total depth of 7,857 ft and hit oil in Mesozoic reservoirs. The company is the operator of both wells, holding the sole interest at Capercaillie and a 52.6% interest at Achmelvich. Shell (28%) and Chevron (19.4%) hold the remaining interests at Achmelvich.

• Aker BP has been granted a drilling permit by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to drill wildcat well 6507/5-8 in production license 212 offshore Norway. The well will be drilled about one mile west of the Skarv field using the Deepsea Stavanger drilling facility, after it concludes drilling a well for another client. The 6507/5-8 will be the eighth exploratory well drilled in the license. Aker BP is the operator and has a 30% interest in the well, with the remaining interests held by Statoil (30%), DEA (25%), and PGNiG (15%).

• USA

• Chevron reported a “major” oil discovery at the deepwater Ballymore prospect offshore the United States Gulf of Mexico. The Ballymore well reached a total measured depth of 29,194 ft and encountered more than 670 ft of net oil pay with “excellent” reservoir and fluid characteristics, the company said. A sidetrack well was being drilled to assess the discovery, which has already been deemed commercially viable. Located approximately 3 miles from Chevron’s Blind Faith platform, the company-operated prospect is situated in about 6,540 ft of water, approximately 75 miles off the Louisiana coast, and covers four blocks in the Norphlet play. Chevron has a 60% working interest in the prospect with Total holding the remaining stake.