2009DC MicrositesSeptember/October

D&C News

Anadarko makes its 4th deepwater Gulf of Mexico discovery in 2009

Anadarko Petroleum announced in late July a discovery at the Vito exploration well in Mississippi Canyon block 984. The well encountered more than 250 net feet of oil pay in subsalt Miocene sands. The company said it expects to drill two additional prospects that are targeting similar subsalt Miocene objective sections along this trend at its Silverado and Haleakala prospects in Mississippi Canyon in 2010.

The Vito well was drilled to a total depth of approximately 32,000 ft in 4,038 ft of water, using the Noble Amos Runner rig. Once operations are completed at Vito, the company plans to move the rig to continue drilling operations at the operated Caesar/Tonga development in the Green Canyon area of the Gulf of Mexico. Co-owners in the discovery include Shell Offshore and StatoilHydro USA. Shell will assume operatorship of Vito after rig release on the current well.

Transocean drillships commence operations in GOM, offshore India

 The Discoverer Clear Leader is an enhanced version of the Enterprise-class drillships. Capable of drilling in water depths up to 12,000 ft, it is the first of five enhanced Enterprise-class drillships scheduled to commence operations in 2009 and 2010.

Transocean’s newbuilds Discoverer Clear Leader and Dhirubhai Deepwater KG1 ultra-deepwater drillships have both commenced operations, the company announced in early August. The Discoverer Clear Leader is working for Chevron in the Gulf of Mexico under a five-year contract. It features dual-activity technology, an enhanced top drive system, an expanded high-pressure mud pump system and expanded completions capabilities – all designed to target the drilling of wells up to 40,000 ft.

The Dhirubhai Deepwater KG1, equipped to construct wells up to 35,000 ft deep, is working offshore India under a five-year drilling contract with Reliance Industries. Transocean said it expects Reliance to sublet the rig to India’s ONGC for the first four years. The rig is one of two newbuilds owned by a joint venture company with Pacific Drilling. The second, Dhirubhai Deepwater KG2, is scheduled to commence operations in 2010.

Oxy: California find is state’s largest in decades

Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) announced it has made a significant discovery of oil and gas reserves in Kern County, Calif. The company believes there are between 150 million and 250 million gross barrels of oil equivalent reserves within the outlined area, where Oxy has drilled six wells to date to delineate the discovery.

The multi-pay zone discovery area, whose areal geological extent is still being defined, has both conventional and unconventional pay zones. The bulk of the discovery’s producing zones are conventional oil- and gas-bearing formations. Approximately two-thirds of the discovery is believed to be natural gas.

“We believe this to be the largest new oil and gas discovery made in California in more than 35 years,” said Ray R Irani, Oxy chairman and CEO. “It is probable that there are additional reserves outside the defined area, and it is possible that structures of this type exist elsewhere in Oxy’s 1.1 million net acre position in California. We plan to drill wells to exploit these opportunities over the next 5 to 10 years.”

Seadrill newbuild semi begins work offshore Brazil

Seadrill’s ultra-deepwater semi-submersible West Eminence has commenced drilling operations for Petrobras in Brazil. It was delivered from Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea in March this year, arrived offshore Brazil in June, and has since been preparing for start-up. The West Eminence is chartered to Petrobras under a six-year contract for operations in the Santos Basin, nearly 350 km offshore Rio de Janeiro. This contract commencement completes the delivery of the original eight deepwater newbuilds that the company originally contracted in 2005 and 2006.

Rowan picks up construction of 240C-class jackup

Rowan Companies announced that it will recommence construction of the third 240C class jackup, the Joe Douglas, at its Vicksburg, Miss., shipyard, with delivery expected in Q3 2011.

“Earlier this year, we halted construction on this rig due to concerns over the turmoil in the credit markets and the downturn in jackup drilling markets,” said Matt Ralls, Rowan president and CEO. “Based on improvements in the credit markets and our confidence in our liquidity outlook through 2010, we have elected to resume construction.”

The Joe Douglas will have 2.5 million lbs of hookload, an 80-ft cantilever reach and 491 ft of leg length.

Pride names 4 newbuild drillships

 The Deep Ocean Ascension is contracted to BP and expected to be delivered in ’10.

Voyaging into deeper waters, Pride International is offering four new drillships that will be outfitted in several configurations depending on client requirements. The first delivery is scheduled for early 2010.

The company has named the new vessels after major subsea features: Deep Ocean Ascension (formerly the PS1), scheduled for completion Q1 2010; Deep Ocean Clarion (formerly PS2), scheduled for completion Q3 2010; Deep Ocean Mendocino (formerly PS3), scheduled for completion Q1 2011; and Deep Ocean Molokai (formerly PS4), scheduled for completion Q4 2011. Ascension, Clarion, Mendocino and Molokai are undersea fracture zones that occur in some of the deepest areas of the oceans.

“These new drillships are a key element of Pride’s transformation to a premier floating rig company,” said Louis A Raspino, Pride president and CEO. “Once operational, they will offer leading-edge capabilities required for accessing an increasing number of deepwater geologic structures.”

The drillships are designed to operate in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, West Africa and Southeast Asia. The first three ships have already been contracted by BP (Deep Ocean Ascension and Deep Ocean Clarion) and Petrobras (Deep Ocean Mendocino).

Separately, Pride announced that it has been awarded a one-year contract by Noble Energy for the Pride South Pacific to drill offshore West Africa. That is expected to begin in Q1 2010.

Chevron makes finds offshore Western Australia

Chevron Australia has announced two natural gas discoveries in the Carnarvon Basin offshore Western Australia. The Clio-2 well is situated in 3,200 ft (990 m) of water and was drilled to a TD of 14,400 ft (4,405 m). The well discovered 375 ft (115 m) of net gas pay. It lies in the WA-205-P permit area, located near the Clio-1 discovery made by Chevron in 2006.

The company also made a discovery with the Kentish Knock-1 well. Drilled in approximately 4,000 ft (1,200 m) of water to a TD of approximately 8,300 ft (2,500 m), the well encountered approximately 110 ft (34 m) of net gas pay. The discovery is located approximately 185 miles (300 km) from the Western Australian coastline, in the WA-365-P permit area in the Exmouth Plateau.

Separately, Chevron affiliate Cabinda Gulf Oil Co (CABGOC) and its partners have made a successful discovery in Block 0, located adjacent to the Cabinda coastline, in Angola.

The 79-3XST1 discovery well, drilled in March 2009 in 397 ft (120 m) of water to a total vertical depth of 13,000 ft (3,965 m), encountered over 225 ft of net hydrocarbon pay in the Upper Pinda formation. The well was tested from a single 150-ft perforated interval and flowed at a rate of 11.6 million cu ft/day of natural gas and 2,550 bbl/day of liquid hydrocarbons.

The discovery extends a trend of undeveloped natural gas condensate and crude oil discoveries in the Greater Vanza Longui Area that are undergoing appraisal.

PetroVietnam inks rig-construction deal

PetroVietnam has signed a project management consulting services contract with Forum Trading and Services Corp for the construction of a jackup drilling rig that can drill in up to 60 m of water. It will be constructed at the PetroVietnam Marine Shipyard in Vung Tau, making it the first jackup to be built in Vietnam. Construction is expected to be completed in 32 months.

CNOOC announces Bohai Bay discovery

CNOOC Ltd has made a discovery, Qinhuangdao (QHD) 35-4, in the Shijiutuo Uplift of north-central Bohai Bay. It is located approximately 38 km west of the QHD 32-6 oilfield. The discovery well, QHD 35-4-3, was drilled to a total depth of 2,215 m in water depths of about 26 m and penetrated oil pay zones with a total thickness of 21.4 m. The well was tested to flow at an average rate of 1,700 bbl/day of oil and 400,000 cu ft/day of natural gas via an 11.11-mm choke.

Affleck delivers 1st oil

Maersk Oil UK has produced first oil from its Affleck development in the UK sector of the North Sea. The field has been developed with two subsea horizontal production wells tied back via a new production flow line to the Janice Floating Production Unit. Development involved the installation of a 28-km flow line to Janice and the construction of a new gas export spurline to the Clyde platform, operated by Maersk’s partner Talisman.

JDC jackup signed to drill offshore Spain

Japan Drilling Co (JDC) has signed a contract with ACS Cobra Castor UTE for its HAKURYU-10 jackup to drill offshore Spain. The contract is for a firm 12 wells and one re-entry, plus two optional wells. Drilling operations are scheduled to start in summer 2010.

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