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1. Production resumed from Shell's northern North Sea Brent Charlie platform on UK Block 211 on Feb. 19 from the Penguins fields. The shutdown came after a gas release on Sept. 11, 2003, which killed two men. Shell conducted a review of pipeline repairs on all its European offshore platforms after the incident.
2. ChevronTexaco reduced the risk of its scheduled West of Shetland deepwater exploration well by farming out 30% of the P1026 license area covering UK blocks 213/26 and 27 to Statoil. ChevronTexaco has already issued a letter of intent to Smedvig to contract the West Navigator drillship to drill a vertical well on the Rosebank and Lochnagar prospects in 213/27 in a water depth of 3,936 ft (1,200 m).
3. Amerada Hess plans to resume exploration drilling in the North Sea with an appraisal of its Cambo prospect in Block 204/10b this summer. Amerada Hess first drilled Cambo late 2002 and the hole remained tight. Advanced Drilling Technology International is providing integrated drilling services for the well, also to be drilled with the West Navigator.
4. BG obtained development approval for gas condensate fields, Atlantic and Cromarty, which are to be developed jointly with Amerada Hess in the Outer Moray Firth. Two subsea wells, one each on Atlantic, in Block 14/26a and Cromarty in 13/30a will be developed and operated remotely via Shell's Goldeneye platform with a 20-mile (32-km) subsea umbilical and a multiphase export pipeline exporting to the UK St. Fergus gas terminal near Aberdeen, Scotland, to be installed by Allseas. Project cost is US $387 million. Atlantic has estimated recoverable reserves of 118 Bcf of gas and 22 million bbl of condensate, and Cromarty 106 Bcf gas plus 4 million bbl of condensate.
5. Partners in the Buzzard field area plugged and abandoned drilling on the Firefly prospect exploration well 19/15-1. Edinburgh Oil and Gas said the P1099 license group, including EnCana, and OMV will next move the Sedco 712 rig to drill another Outer Moray Firth exploration well in Block 19/8, which is on the Peacock prospect.
6. Shell is planning the Central North Sea 34 million boe Howe oilfield as a single well tieback to the nearby Nelson platform after awarding an Christmas tree and wellhead supply contract to ABB Vetco Gray and another to Aker Kværner for a subsea control system. Technip has been contracted for an 8-in. and 12-in. pipeline, plus a 4-in. umbilical. Howe was discovered by Enterprise Oil with the 2001 22/12a-H well. The field was acquired when Shell took over Enterprise in 2002 and it was approved for development December 2003.
Shell was also reported to be putting more North Sea assets up for sale: A "multi-hundred million dollar" range of North Sea assets were to be sold, according to Neil Gilmour, Shell upstream business development manager for Europe, speaking at a North Sea conference in Houston, Texas. Non-operated assets were likely to be put on the market within a month, Gilmour later told Dow Jones Newswires. But he also said Shell had US $500 million earmarked for North Sea developments.
A spokeswoman for Shell E&P Europe said the portfolio management was continuous, adding, "We can confirm that we are reviewing certain North Sea assets as part of that process."
7. Paladin Resources contracted Global Santa Fe's 140 rig to drill a new North Sea exploration well to test the Brechin prospect close to its operated Arkwright field in Block 22/23a, which will be preceded by a Montrose field well in 22/17. Also Global's heavy duty jackup Galaxy 1 has been contracted for an infill well and two workovers on Arbroath.
8. ATP started producing gas from its Southern North Sea Helvellyn field in Block 47/10 with initial delivery at more than 50 MMcf/d (1.42 MMcm) of gas from a single well via the BP Amethyst platform to the UK Easington terminal.
BP originally discovered the field with a 1985 47/10-1 well which tested at 29.4 MMcf/d of gas. Helvellyn has been tapped with a sidetrack drilled to 13,850 ft (4,224 m) with a 2,400-ft (732-m) horizontal section.
9. Prospects for Marathon Oil's Alvheim development west of Heimdal firmed up with a deal to purchase a multi-service tanker, the MST Odin from Statoil, and contracting for a drilling rig for the project. The Odin sale is contingent on partner approval for the Alvheim development, and the Odin will be converted into a floating production storage and offloading vessel, Statoil said. Also Marathon contracted Odfjell Drilling's Deepsea Bergen semisubmersible for US $65 million for 10 firm 60-day wells on Alvheim commencing July 2005 - after development drilling on BP's UK Rhum project, plus options for a further five wells.
10. Talisman Energy acquired interests in two undeveloped Norwegian prospects in a deal with ConocoPhillips Scandinavia. It gained 35% in the 20 million to 40 million bbl Blane oilfield covered by Norwegian licenses PL143BS and 143CS in Block 1/2 which also contains the Hummer prospect, due to be drilled by operator Paladin Resources in 2004.
Additional acreages were awarded with two exploration licenses covering part Block 2/1, adjacent to Talisman's operated Gyda field, plus blocks 7/8 and 11 - 44 miles (70 km) northwest of Gyda, which includes the Mime field. Technical evaluation of remaining potential there is underway, Talisman said. Gyda, currently producing 11,000 b/d of oil, is due to have three new production wells in 2004, plus another three to six wells up to 2008.
11. Norsk Hydro indicated drilling plans for the Obelix C prospect in seismic area C in the Barents Sea this winter. Also Hydro and Statoil have contracted Smedvig's West Navigator deepwater drillship for US $13 million to drill two exploration wells on the Alve and Linerle prospects in the Norwegian Sea, commencing March 2004 for 65 days, keeping the rig employed until May.
12. PGS Marine Geophysical completed a 4-D base survey over the Albatross and Snøhvit fields off northern Norway operating with the Ramform Victory which will provide source positions for future repeat surveys.
13. Statoil confirmed a dry hole with its Kappa exploration well 6507/8-7 drilled half a mile (1 km) southwest of the Heimdal field area which was designed to enhance oil recovery close to the production hub. Drilled with the Deepsea Bergen semisubmersible in a water depth of 1,092 ft (333 m) to a total depth of 9,682 ft (2,952 m), the well terminated in Jurassic sediments.
14. New ways of exploiting the high pressure/high temperature Kristin gas and condensate field in blocks 6406/2 and 6506/11 in the Norwegian Sea are to be sought to meet the project schedule, operator Statoil indicated, saying, "This search has been prompted by a recognition that the field is probably more complex than previously thought."
More and longer horizontal wells costing an additional US $143 million to $286 million are under consideration for the project, which was originally budgeted at $2.44 billion when the plan for development and operation was approved last December covering three production licenses, 134B, 199 and 257 comprising the fields Kristin, Lavrans, Erlend, Morvin - the M prospect -
Spain's Dragados Offshore construction company said it would be unable to complete a riser balcony for a newbuild Kristin semi-submersible production platform within the project schedule. Aker Kvaerner - already building process and utility modules for the Kristin platform - has been re-allocated between 100,000 and 200,000 manhours of construction for the balcony by Statoil.
Kristin is due onstream October 2005.
15. Esso Norge contracted Odfjell Drilling's Deepsea Delta for an exploration well on the West Cable prospect in Block 16/1-7 just west of the Draupner field and south of the Balder field for between 30 to 60 days starting May 10.
16. Shell sold its 15% stake in the Barents Sea Goliat oil discovery in PL 229 to DNO along with 25% interests in two licenses PL035 and PL 272 2 20 km south. Goliat, 53 miles (85 km) north of Hammerfest, 31 miles (50 km) southeast of Snøhvit, and operated by Agip, is due for a further exploration well this summer.
17. A total of 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of 2-D data was acquired by Avery Resources from Jebco Seismic including 1,250 miles (2,000 km) of the northern Irish Sea adjacent to the South Larne PL 1/01 license area for US $8,500. The area was under evaluation by the Institut Francais du Petrole.
18. Noble Energy with partners Pogo Petroleum and DONG are due to spud on the Fasan exploration prospect in license No. 13/98 in Denmark's North Sea sector. The well will be testing a Jurassic target near the eastern edge of the Danish Central Graben. There are some possible uphole Cretaceous targets at this drilling location, Pogo indicated. Drilling on the well, in a water depth of 131 ft (40 m) was due to commence May with the Ensco 71 jackup.