E&P Notes: April 2024

Updates about global exploration and production activities and developments.

The MOU marks Suncor’s second oil sands development in 2 years.
The MOU marks Suncor’s second oil sands development in 2 years.
Source: Dan Prat/Getty Images.

Eni Successful in Cyprus

Italian energy company, Eni, announced its successfully completed drilling of the Cronos-2 well offshore Cyprus. Cronos-2 was drilled to appraise the Cronos natural gas discovery in Block 6, which was discovered in August 2022. A production test estimated a well production capacity of 150 MMscf/D. The well, drilled to confirm the lateral extension of the Cronos gas discovery (with Cronos-1 exploration well) located approximately 3 km away, encountered the same carbonate reservoir sequence as Cronos-1, confirming hydraulic communication and connected thick gas column with excellent permeability intervals, according to the company. Eni, which has been present in Cyprus for over a decade, serves as operator and holds 50% interest in Block 6; TotalEnergies holds 50%.

Eni also operates Blocks 2, 3, 8, and 9, and has participating interests in Blocks 7 and 11, operated by TotalEnergies.

Trinidad and Tobago Extend Auction Deadline

Trinidad and Tobago extended a deadline to submit bids for an auction of shallow-water oil and gas blocks by nearly 2 months to 27 May. Thirteen blocks are available in the twin-island country with Trinidad’s shallow-water areas producing more than 2 billion bbl of oil and 20 TcF of natural gas. Trinidad is Latin America’s largest producer of LNG with installed capacity of 15 mtpa, and one of the world’s biggest exporters of methanol and ammonia. The auction began in October 2023.

The twin-island country is auctioning 13 shallow-water blocks.
The twin-island country is auctioning 13 shallow-water blocks.
Source: Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries.

Further Exploration Planned in Suriname

State oil company Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname NV announced it has signed a letter of agreement (LOA) with Petronas and ExxonMobil to further explore Block 52 offshore Suriname. The LOA comes after Petronas made a gas discovery in the Sloanea-1 exploration well in Block 52 in 2020 which was determined to be commercially unattractive to develop into a production field. Staatsolie and Petronas have since discussed further exploration of the Sloanea-1 well, with the LOA allowing the companies to investigate and increase the feasibility of the development of a commercial gas field in the block.

Drilling is expected to begin in April 2024 in the Sloanea-2 appraisal well, after which a production test will also be carried out. If a commercial gas field is determined to be possible at the well, the companies expect first gas production in 2031.

BP Prepares To Drill in Pau Brasil

BP announced its expectation that drilling will begin in the Pau Brasil block in the Santos Basin in April 2024. The supermajor has contracted the Valaris DS-15 drillship through June 2024. The Pau Brasil block was auctioned in 2018 with a proposed oil surplus percentage of 63.79%. BP also operates several other blocks in the country including the Campos Basin and Barreirinhas Basin.

BP is the operator and holds a 50% interest with CNOOC Petroleum (30%) and Ecopetrol (20%).

Bangladesh To Auction 24 Blocks

PetroBangla, Bangladesh’s government-owned national gas company, will auction off 24 blocks in the Bay of Bengal. Nine shallow-water and 15 deepwater blocks will be offered. The auction comes as the country has battled with energy shortages and a spike in fuel prices. “The deadline for submission of offers for the 24 offshore blocks will be the first week of September and after evaluations, we are hoping to finalize the deals by the end of this year,” said Zanendra Nath Sarker, PetroBangla chairman.

The company also announced plans to import 48 LNG cargoes from the spot market, up from the 24 imported last year.

Onshore and offshore gas blocks in Bangladesh.
Onshore and offshore gas blocks in Bangladesh.
Source: PetroBangla.

Suncor Bets on Bitumen in Alberta

Calgary-based energy company Suncor Energy Inc. announced it signed a memorandum of understanding with Fort McKay First Nation on an oil sands lease development opportunity. The company is conducting early-stage technical and feasibility assessments to determine the quality and quantity of mineable bitumen ore on Lease 174C in Fort McKay First Nation’s traditional territory in northern Alberta.

Suncor is looking to boost its long-term bitumen supply to replace output from its Base Plant mine, which is expected to be depleted as early as the mid-2030s. “This potential opportunity, which has synergies with Suncor’s existing operations, could provide Suncor with bitumen supply optionality post 2040,” said Peter Zebedee, Suncor’s executive vice president—oil sands. Last year, the company purchased TotalEnergies’ Fort Hills oil sands mine.

CNOOC Announces Major Kaiping South Discovery

CNOOC Ltd. made a major discovery at the Kaiping South oil field in deepwater eastern South China Sea. The discovery is expected to add over a 100 million tons of oil equivalent proved-in-place volume. Located in average water depths of 500 m, the three main light-crude oil-bearing plays in the discovery include Zhuhai Formation, Enping Formation, and Wenchang Formation of Paleogene.

The discovery well, KP18-1-1d, was drilled to a depth of 3462 m and encountered a total of 100.6 m oil and gas pay zones. The well was tested to produce an average of 7,680 bbl of crude oil and 0.52 MMscf/D, according to the company.

Eni Announces Calao Discovery

Eni announced successful results at the Murene 1X exploration well in offshore Côte d’Ivoire. The discovery, named Calao, is the country’s second-largest discovery after Eni’s 2021 discovery in the Baleine field. Drilling took place at 45 km off the coast in block CI-205 reaching a depth of 5000 m in water depths of around 2200 m. The company, which has been active in Côte d’Ivoire since 2015, reported preliminary estimates indicate the potential resources to be between 1 and 1.5 billion BOE.

Block CI-205 is one of six blocks the company shares in Côte d’Ivoire in partnership with Petroci Holding.