E&P Notes: May 2024

Updates about global exploration and production activities and developments.

Troll B’s platform can be utilized for future production.
Troll B’s platform can be utilized for future production.
Source: Harald Pettersen/Equinor ASA.

Orange Basin Is Home to More Discoveries

Namibia’s Orange Basin is home to a recent significant light-oil discovery at the Mopane-2X well. While drilling to its designated depth, drilling operations encountered a significant column of light oil in reservoirs of high quality. In January, Mopane-1X was drilled and two significant light-oil discoveries were made which led the companies to drill Mopane-2X. After the recent Mopane-2X discovery, a rig will now return to Mopane-1X to conduct a drillstem test. The companies will now analyze the acquired data during the coming weeks to assess the commerciality of the discoveries.

Mopane-1X and Mopane-2X are part of PEL 83 which includes Blocks 2812A and 2814B in the northern Orange sub-basin approximately 150 km off the south-west coast of Namibia offshore.

Galp Energy is the operator and holds an 80% interest, with partners Inter Oil (Pty) Ltd. (10%) and NAMCOR (10%).

Major Discovery in the Bohai Sea

CNOOC announced a major discovery in the Bohai Sea at the Qinhuangdao 27-3 oil field. The discovery well QHD27-3-3 was drilled to a depth of 1570 m in the Bohai Sea which has an average water depth of 25 m. “Qinhuangdao 27-3 oil field is another major discovery with proved-in place volume over 100 million tons that we made in the north central Bohai Sea in a decade. The successful discovery of the oil field further demonstrates the oil and gas exploration potential in the complicated strike/slip fault zones of the Bohai Sea,” said CNOOC Deputy Chief Exploration Officer Xu Changgui.

The field was tested and is expected to produce approximately 742 B/D of crude oil from a single well.

Bluefin Marks ExxonMobil’s First 2024 Discovery

ExxonMobil Guyana announced a discovery at Bluefin in the southeastern portion of the Stabroek block in offshore Guyana. Drilling of the well revealed approximately 197 ft of hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone and was drilled by the Stena DrillMAX drillship in 4,244 ft of water.

The Stabroek block, a 6.6-million-acre area, has been the site of more than 30 discoveries amounting to more than 11 billion BOE by ExxonMobil since 2015. The Bluefin well is ExxonMobil’s first announced discovery in 2024 with Chevron CEO Mike Wirth announcing this January that 10 to 12 exploration and appraisal wells are planned for 2024. Chevron is an indirect stakeholder in the Stabroek block after it acquired Hess Corporation in October 2023.

ExxonMobil is the operator and holds a 45% interest with Hess (30%) and CNOOC (25%).

New Drilling Venture in Venezuela

Petroindependencia, a partnership between Chevron and Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA, launched a new drilling venture in Venezuela. In September 2023, Chevron announced its intention to add 65,000 BPD to its Venezuela crude output by the end of 2024. The following month, the US loosened oil sanctions on Venezuela.

Petroindependencia began drilling in February on the CMI14 well, the first of 17 planned for this year.

Chevron Exits Myanmar

While Chevron expands its operations in Venezuela, the company announced it will quit the Yadana natural gas field in Myanmar. The company has previously condemned violence and human rights abuses in the Southeast Asia country for the past 2 years. Yadana, located in the Gulf of Martaban, produced about 6 billion m3 per year of gas. Of this, 70% has been exported to Thailand and the remaining 30% to Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).

Chevron’s 41.1% interest will be redistributed to Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production and state-owned MOGE.

Equinor Makes Moves in the North Sea

Equinor’s North Sea Heisenberg discovery is now estimated to hold recoverable volumes of 24 to 56 million BOE after completion of an appraisal well and sidetrack. In March 2023, the original estimate was 24 to 84 million BOE. Wells 35/10-11 S and A, the first wells drilled in PL 827 SB about 140 km northwest of Bergen in water depths of 364 m, encountered a sandstone reservoir totaling about 10 m with good reservoir quality in the Hordaland Group. When first announced, Heisenberg was reported to be commercially interesting as the company can utilize existing infrastructure connected to the Troll B platform.

The company also reported oil-bearing sands in a deeper, secondary target Hummer, and that it plans to drill an additional prospect, Angel. Hummer, located in the Balder formation in the upper Paleocene to lower Eocene, was drilled to 1853 m. Hummer was reported to contain a 3-m oil column in sandstone totaling 23 m with poor-to-moderate reservoir quality in the Balder formation.

Equinor is the operator and holds 51% interest with DNO Energy AS (49%).

Block B Begins in Vietnam

Mitsui & Co. has made a final investment decision valued at $560 million for Block B Project, a gas field, and a pipeline linking it to a gas-fired thermal power plant complex with an estimated capacity of 490 MMcf/D. Block B is located in offshore Vietnam in the Malay-Thổ Chu basin. Production is scheduled to begin by the end of 2026 with the project including a midstream development for gas transportation.

PetroVietnam is the operator and holds a 65.88% interest with Mitsui & Co. (25.62%) and PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Ltd. (8.5%).

Masirah Oil Spuds Wells in Yumna Field

Oman oil producer Masirah Oil Ltd. announced the spudding of the Yumna-5 well in the Yumna field in Block 50. The block is an approximately 17000-km2 offshore concession located in the Gulf of Masirah, east of Oman. Northern Offshore’s Energy Emerger jackup rig drilled the site along with a workover of two existing production wells, Yumna-2 and Yumna-3. In February, Masirah Oil announced gross production in the Yumna field averaged 1,430 STB/D over the full month.

Masirah Oil holds 100% interest in Block 50.

Block 50 offshore Oman.
Block 50 offshore Oman.
Source: Masirah Oil Ltd.