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1. Eight oil and gas companies submitted 18 bids for the 10 offshore oil and gas blocks put up for auction by Trinidad and Tobago. The country's energy ministry planned to announce winners in March and take 3 to 6 months to negotiate and sign contracts. The most attractive block was 2(ab) with bids from Repsol YPF, Kerr-McGee, Canadian Superior and BHP Billiton. Repsol YPF also bid on Block 1(a) in competition with PetroCanada and BG, while PetroCanada bid against Norsk Hydro on Block 22 and placed the sole bid for Block 1(b). Kerr-McGee and BHP Billiton also competed for Block 3(b), and EOG Resources submitted the only bid for Block 4(a). BHP Billiton was the only contender for blocks 23(a), 23(b) and 24, and Canadian Superior and BG competed for top bid on Block 5(c). The 1(a) and 1(b) blocks are in shallow water off Trinidad's west coast, while 2(ab) is in shallow water off the east coast. The other single-digit blocks were on the shelf off the east coast, and the double-digit blocks are in deep water off the northeast coast of Trinidad.
2. Harvest Natural Resources is finishing up a technical study to optimize its oil and gas fields in its South Monagas unit in Monagas state in Venezuela. It is evaluating El Salto and Temblador fields through its Benton-Vinccler subsidiary in cooperation with state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA.
3. Ominex Resources Inc. will start development work on its Baja Rio field that lies in its Nare concession mostly under the Magdalena River in the Middle Magdalena Valley in Colombia. The Under River contract contains some 22 million bbl of proven reserves and another 23 million bbl of unproved reserves.
4. Talisman Energy will raise its Colombian work program 40% to US $20.1 million in 2004 as it completes its Candelo well on the Acevedo block; spuds its Altamizal, the third well in the Huila Norte contract area; and drills the Nunchia Real, its fourth well in the Tangara block. It will also announce results from the El Encanto well in the Huila Norte block.
5. Repsol YPF plans 15 wells in Block 16 and another 8 wells in Block 14 in Ecuador during 2004 as it raises its investment in that country to US $58 million, according to BN Americas. Completion of the OCP Pipeline will allow the company to ship more oil to the west coast.
6. Repsol YPF has budgeted up to US $67 million for its operations in Peru in 2004. Most of that investment will go into the La Pampilla refinery, but the Spanish company also wants to begin a seismic survey on Block 39 in the Maranon Basin near the Ecuador border with plans to drill a well in the last half of the year if the seismic shows a promising prospect. In addition, the company joined Burlington Northern in contracting for exploration and production work on Block 57 farther south in the Ucayali Basin.
7. Petrobras has earmarked US $1.63 billion for a transportation and treatment web across the Campos Basin. The complex will tie its P-40, P-50, P-51, P-52 (if it is completed), P-53, P-55 and Roncador 4 platforms to refineries in Rio de Janeiro, Gerais and Sao Paulo states.
8. ChevronTexaco has started prequalifying contractors for the front-end engineering and design study for Campos Basin Frade project offshore Brazil. The US $1 billion deepwater project on block BC-4 should see engineering awards this month followed by up to 6 months of engineering work before tenders for work begin late this year. Once bids are in, the company will decide whether to sanction the project early next year, according to Ogilvie's E&P Daily. The project involves subsea trees connected to a floating production storage and offloading vessel capable of handling 150,000 b/d of production from 3,445 ft to 4,265 ft (1,050 m to 1,300 m) of water.
9. Kerr-McGee Corp. has agreed to purchase a one-third working interest in block BM-C-7 offshore Brazil in the Campos Basin from EnCanBrasil when it gets the necessary government approvals. With those approvals, it plans one exploratory well on the block in some 400 ft (122 m) of water. EnCanBrasil will remain operator of the block with two-thirds ownership.
10. Pioneer Natural Resources plans to drill six wells in Argentina this year, essentially doubling capital spending. Pioneer raised its production to an average 8,687 b/d of oil, 1,318 b/d of gas liquids and 94.1 MMcf/d of gas in 2003 and plans to increase production again this year. It currently has seven rigs working in both the Austral and Neuquen basins.
11. Desire Petroleum Plc has a contract with Fugro Geoteam A/S to conduct a 3-D seismic survey for the company over tranches C and D in the North Falkland Basin. Fugro will use the Geo Pacific for the job. The survey will target the three prospects with the largest potential oil reserves.
12. Argentina's Pan American Energy bought into a 35% share of Repsol YPF's long-planned program in blocks 40 and 46 some 280 miles (450 km) east of the Argentine segment of Tierra del Fuego. Total owns a 31% share of the project. The new combination could drill next year after conducting a US $1.5 million
3-D seismic survey.