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1. BHP Billiton, as operator with BG Group, Talisman Energy and TotalFinaElf, landed a production-sharing contract with Trinidad and Tobago for offshore Block 3(a), some 25 miles (40 km) off the east coast of Trinidad in less than 300 ft (92 m) of water. BHP has made discoveries in adjacent Block 2(c). As part of the deal, the companies will acquire seismic and drill a six-well exploration program.
2. EOG Resources signed a production-sharing contract with Trinidad and Tobago to secure the L Block contract area off the southeast coast of Trinidad. EOG was the only bidder on the block in 330-ft (101-m) waters. It has production in the area and plans to spend US $15 million collecting 3-D seismic and drilling two wells on the contract area. The company also found new gas reserves to add to existing production at its SECC Block offshore Trinidad and Tobago. The Parula discovery reached 372 ft (113 m) of pay and may have as much as 350 Bcf in gas reserves. If early assessments are correct, the company could produce 40 MMcf/d from the field.
3. Recent drilling offshore Trinidad and Tobago may lower enthusiasm for the island nation's substantial gas reserves. BP encountered a dry hole on Block 27 at its Catfish prospect with the Bedford Dolphin drillship in 3,281-ft (1,000-m) waters. ExxonMobil abandoned its Callicore prospect on Block 25b in 3,779-ft (1,152-m) waters but has spudded another deepwater well in Block 26 at its Heliconius using the Glomar Jack Ryan drillship. Shell Exploration and Production also is drilling on Block 25a but did not comment on reports of disappointing results.
4. Occidental Petroleum abandoned its hopes of major new production from its Gibraltar well on the Siriri Block in northeastern Colombia. The company said the well was not an economically attractive prospect after spending close to US $100 million on the exploration and drilling effort and projecting potential reserves as high as 1.5 billion bbl of oil. During the effort to drill the well, Colombia and Occidental worked together, unsuccessfully, to avoid confrontations with the U'wa natives, who said the ground was sacred and threatened mass suicide if the company insisted on removing the "blood of the earth."
5. Petrobras made it through three of 16 planned development wells in Guando field, in the Boqueron Block of Colombia's Upper Magdalena Basin west of Bogota. With production from the field, Petrobras and partner Nexen Inc. started the first of two waterfloods designed to maintain downhole pressures. The companies plan to produce 10,000 b/d of oil by the end of this year and reach a peak of 30,000 b/d in 2005. Nexen holds operating rights to the blocks surrounding and on trend with the Boqueron Block discovery well.
6. Seven Seas Petroleum of Houston, Texas, reached gas below 15,650 ft (4,773 m) at its subthrust Dindal prospect in the company's Guaduas field, in Colombia's Magdalena Valley. The US $15 million Escuela 2 well is scheduled to 18,000 ft (5,490 m). Completion costs could add to that total. The field produces about 11,000 b/d of oil.
7. Lukoil of Russia took a big stake in Colombia's oil patch with the Condor contract for 740,000 acres of land along the foothills of the eastern plain (Piedemonte Llanero). It will share this region with Colombia's largest oil field, BP's 300,000-b/d Cusiana-Cupiagua complex.
8. BP completed seismic work on its 900 million-bbl-potential Niscota block in eastern Boyoaca province in Colombia's foothills, 125 miles (200 km) northeast of Bogota. It plans to begin drilling this month. The company is counting on Niscota to help make up for declining production at its Cusiana-Cupiagua complex. It also is finishing seismic on its Recetor prospect adjacent to Cusiana-Cupiagua, according to BNAmericas.com. The company produces 260,000 b/d of oil from Cusiana-Cupiagua, down from 484,000 b/d in 1999, and another 10,000 b/d from Florenia and Pauto fields.
9. Petroleos de Venezuela SA, Phillips Petroleum and ChevronTexaco plan to invest US $500 million this year in their Hamaca heavy oil project on Venezuela's Orinoco Belt, despite political disruptions in the country. The Hamaca project has a $1.1 billion budget, produces some 30,000 b/d of oil and contains some 30 billion bbl of oil, according to Ogilvie's E&P Daily.
10. Venezuela's first offshore natural gas exploration effort got under way in May with Petroleos de Venezuela SA before its Delta Platform project near its offshore border with Trinidad and Tobago. It estimates reserves on the block as high as 30 Tcf of gas and plans to spend US $375 million on exploration in the next 30 months.
11. Peru withdrew three tracts from open bidding after receiving bids from only one company. The tracts were adjacent to giant Camisea gas field in the Ucayali Basin. The only bid came from Pluspetrol, operator of the US $1.35 billion Camisea project. The Camisea tract was one of 17 licenses offered in the round. Occidental Petroleum Corp., the other potential bidder for tracts 56, 57 and 58, pulled out of the running. The withdrawal allows Pluspetrol the option of negotiating directly with Perupetrol for operating rights on the tracts. The area is remote, and although pipeline construction is under way, the extent of demand for additional gas hasn't been established. In addition, the government has proposed high royalties on Camisea gas.
12. Ocean Energy is working on a CGG seismic program as it prepares to drill on deepwater Block BM-C-15 in Brazil's Campos Basin. The company plans to drill the US $25 million well near the middle of next year. It successfully bid on the block in September 2001 and has 3 years to obtain necessary operations and environmental permits allowing it to drill the first well. It then has the option to drill four wells during the next 4 years. The first well is planned to 9,000 ft (2,743 m). Amerada Hess has 65% of the block, but Ocean is the operator.