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1. Mera Petroleum and Millennium Energy, both of Calgary, Alberta, have asked Colombia's Ecopetrol to extend their exploration rights to October on their Salinas block in Colombia's far northern Guajira state. The original agreement called for reprocessing of 186 miles (300 km) of 2-D seismic in the gas-prone area and completion of a horizontal re-entry into an existing vertical well. The companies have completed the seismic work and are looking for another partner to drill the well for a farm-in interest. That interest might cost as much as US $1.4 million.
2. Nexen of Canada will spend US $14 million with operator Petrobras in developing Guando field in Colombia's Upper Magdalena Valley this year, a drop from the $18 million it spent this past year. The two companies plan to drill 24 wells and build a 35-mile (56-km) export pipeline. They also will start a waterflood that should improve production from the field next year.
3. Petrotesting of Colombia signed an association contract with state oil company Ecopetrol for the Menegua block in Colombia's Llanos Basin. The contract gives the company the right to explore the block for up to 6 years and to produce from the property for 22 years, if it finds commercial oil, according to BN Americas.
4. Petro-Canada has acquired a half working interest in La Ceiba block on the eastern shore of Lake Maracaibo in western Venezuela with its acquisition of the properties of Veba Oil & Gas. ExxonMobil owns the remaining working interest in the field. So far, five wells have been drilled in the field, and the companies are evaluating commercial development. Veba also had an interest in ExxonMobil's Cerro Negro heavy oil project, and Petro-Canada is waiting through the first-right-of-refusal process to see if it will get a share of that field.
5. Italy's Eni improved production capacity at its Dacion heavy oil field in Venezuela with the addition of a US $368 million oil-processing project, which includes new processing stations at the east and west segments of the field and more pumping stations. The processing stations provide water injection treatment facilities. With the upgrade, the company can produce up to 58,000 b/d, but that's still short of field capacity of 86,000 b/d from reserves of 302 million bbl. Eni plans to drill 122 new wells and work over 296 wells, starting this year.
6. Harvest Natural Resources Inc. put into effect a contingency plan as the general strike in Venezuela continued. The company's South Monogas Unit was producing 27,000 b/d of oil, but Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA) reduced sales to 18,000 b/d in December and diverted the remainder to storage. As the strike continued, the company reduced production to 8,000 b/d, halted sales to PdVSA and had to shut down production as storage tanks filled.
7. ConocoPhillips is collecting prequalification packages for its Corocoro oil project in the western Gulf of Paria on the northeastern corner of Venezuela. The shallowwater project includes a fixed 24-slot wellhead platform bridged to a 50-person accommodation platform, a 60,000-b/d floating production unit and a 1.3 million-bbl floating storage and offloading vessel. The company probably will announce the award in March or April. The target for the project is a reservoir with 450 million bbl of oil reserves with first production anticipated late in 2004. Water depth is 20 ft to 82 ft (6 m to 25 m). In the second phase, the company will begin producing the field's 2 Tcf of gas to feed the first train of the Mariscal, Sucre liquefied natural gas plant on the Paria Peninsula.
8. Talisman Energy of Canada will spend US $84 million of its $660 million worldwide exploration budget in Latin America, $51 million in Trinidad and Tobago and $33 million in Colombia. The company is a 25% partner in Block 2c off the coast of Trinidad on the Angostura structure, and some of the capital will go to commercial development there. Those successes also lend confidence to drilling plans on Block 3a and the Eastern block, where it holds interests of 30% and 65%, respectively. The company has a 70% share of Acevedo block and 30% shares in the Altamizal and Huila Norte blocks in Colombia's Upper Magdalena Valley. It plans a well on each of those blocks this year. It also has 30% of the Tangara block in Colombia's Llanos Basin where it plans a well.
9. Petrobras discovered oil in Block BS-3 in the Espirito Santo Basin off the coast of Santa Catarina. The 1-CS-10a well is 105 miles (175 km) off the coast in 653 ft (199 m) of water. The original well, the 1-SCS-10, completed in October 2001, showed hydrocarbons in three zones between 15,621 ft and 16,818 ft (4,761 m and 5,126 m) but was abandoned because of mechanical problems. Petrobras drilled the new well to evaluate the same horizons. At least one of the formations, the lowest, produces 43° gravity oil. Partners in the well are Queiroz Galvao (30%), Coplex (27.5%) and Starfish SA (7.5%).
10. Petrobras hit a new discovery in Block B-60, just 6 miles (10 km) from its recently announced Jubarte field heavy oil discovery on the northern edge of the Campos Basin offshore Espirito Santo state in Brazil. The 1-ESS-116 discovery, in 4,849 ft (1,478 m) of water, tapped 197 ft (60 m) of heavy oil in a reservoir calculated to contain some 300 million boe in reserves. The new well, combined with Jubarte, gives Petrobras 900 million boe in recent reserve additions from Block B-60. The company is conducting a long-term production test at Jubarte, where the single well is producing at a rate of 17,000 b/d of 17° gravity oil. The new discovery tested at 20,000 b/d, and Petrobras is drilling a confirmation well in the same area.
11. Single Buoy Moorings won the tight race to provide a new floating production, storage and offloading vessel, called FPSO-X, for Petrobras at Marlim Sul field in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil. This vessel will make up Module 1 in the field's development with a capacity to process up to 100,000 b/d of oil in 3,970 ft (1,211 m) of water, according to Ogilvie's E&P Daily. Petrobras wants the vessel to begin work in the second quarter of 2004. In separate action, Petrobras has asked for bids for the deepwater P-51 semisubmersible for another Marlim Sul module. At the same time, it asked bidders for prices on the P-52 semisubmersible for Roncador field.