1. Canada's Tanganyika Oil said independent assessor Sproule International has updated and increased its estimate of reserves at the Oudeh field in Syria. Total 3P (proved, probable plus possible) oil in place is now estimated at 2.56 billion bbl, an increase over Sproule's June 2003 estimate of 2.4 billion bbl. Total gross 3P recoverable reserves are around 179 million bbl, up 8% over the previous estimate. Sproule has also identified a potential additional oil-in-place resource volume of 1.34 billion bbl in the western and central sectors of the Shiranish formation. Tanganyika is currently acquiring 3-D seismic data over the entire field.

2. Iran will kick off drilling the deepwater sector of the Caspian Sea next year. Khazar Exploration & Production Company (Kepco), which is responsible for exploration and production in the Caspian, issued a prequalification tender for an extended well test/early production systems (EWT/EPS) study for deepwater wells in the Caspian Sea. An NIOC-owned semisubmersible rig capable of drilling in depths of up to 3,281 ft (1,000 m) is nearing completion at a yard in Neka, but the unit is unlikely to be ready until at least mid-2005.

3. The first postwar technical study of Iraq's major oil fields is set to be awarded during November, according to Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadhban. A total of 14 firms have tendered to carry out the study including Shell, BP and BHP Billiton, the minister told reporters at an OPEC meeting in Vienna. The contract is expected to be worth US $10 million, according to Dow Jones. The study will carry out a comprehensive reservoir engineering study of Iraq's two main fields, Kirkuk in the north and Rumeila in the south.

4. Kuwait is still aiming to fast-track proposals to release tenders to western oil companies by the end of December for the US $7 billion development of its northern oil fields despite encountering domestic political opposition. In early August Kuwait's Supreme Oil Council, headed by the prime minister, approved a draft technical service contract for the oil fields development plan, called Project Kuwait. A decision on the winning bidder could take 45 to 60 days. Three oil consortia are in the running for Project Kuwait. They are led by BP, ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil. Project Kuwait would enable the country to increase production by 300,000 b/d, lifting output to 3 million b/d. It was originally launched in 1998 and envisaged doubling oil production from five northern oil fields near the border with Iraq - Rawdatain, Sabrya, Ratga, Abdali and Bahra - to around 900,000 b/d within 5 years, from the current 450,000 b/d. The three consortia include companies such as Royal Dutch/Shell Group, ConocoPhillips, Total, Eni and Occidental Petroleum.

5. Total has extended a contract to supply technical assistance to state-owned Kuwait Oil Co. (KOC) for a further year. The contract was first signed in 1997 and renewed in 2001. Total added that the new contract can again be renewed when it expires next year. Under the contract, Total provides KOC with expertise for the development of oil fields in the neutral zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as well as onshore blocks in Kuwait.

6. Qatar Petroleum will award a contract in February for contractors to supply engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning for miscellaneous modification work on various wellhead jackets on its Bul Hanine and Maydan Mahzam fields. The workscope includes the modification of existing topsides structures, piping and instrumentation/telemetry installations and hook-up of wells on various wellhead jackets; modification of existing topsides piping and installation of riser ESD valves on the jackets; modification of existing topsides and installation of gas lift facilities on a wellhead jacket; installation of subsea isolation valves of various diameters ranging from 6-in. to 16-in. lines on existing pipeline networks with modification of existing topsides, piping and instrumentation/
telemetry installations on associated wellhead jackets; and supply of well control modules for multi-well control panels. The scope of work requires the provision of suitable marine spreads by an experienced offshore contractor to carry out the design and perform the installation of the subsea valves on the pipeline networks. Qatar Petroleum will provide the diving support vessel for all the subsea work.

7. Calgary-based Calvalley Petroleum completed its latest drilling operations onshore Yemen, with the most recent well encountering 51 ft (15.5 m) of net oil pay. The company said the Al Roidhat 4 appraisal well in Block 9 will be completed as a future oil producer. It was drilled to test the northeast flank of the field, with the net oil pay hit in the Upper Qishn Sand Member reservoir over a 113-ft (34.5-m) gross oil column. Significantly, the well encountered the oil/water contact within the S-3 sand 37 ft (11.3 m) deeper than the oil/water contact in the previous three wells drilled in the Al Roidhat pool. This new information regarding the Al Roidhat pool will be evaluated as to its positive impact on recoverable oil reserves. The rig then mobilized to a new exploration prospect, Ras Noor, located 3.7 miles (6 km) south of the Al Roidhat oil discovery. The well was spudded targeting the Upper Qishn Sand reservoir.

8. DNO of Norway completed a production test on its Nabrajah-2 prospect in Yemen's onshore Block 43. It flowed at a stabilized rate of 15.2 MMcf/d of gas and 313 b/d of condensate. The test flow represents a total equivalent hydrocarbon liquid production in excess of 3,000 boe/d. Nabrajah-2 is the first in a two-well appraisal programme to determine the size of the Nabrajah Qishn oil find.