Beach Energy Finds Gas at Ragnal-1 and Oil at Martlet-1 Wells in Australia

Beach Energy Ltd., an Australian oil and gas exploration and production company, provided Wednesday the February drilling report at its upstream assets in Australia and Egypt.

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Development

Australia – Cooper and Eromanga Basins

(Operated)

PRLs 151 to 172 (formerly PEL 91)

(Beach 40 percent, Drillsearch 60 percent)

A new four‐well pad drilling campaign commenced in the north of the Bauer Field, targeting the highly productive Namur Sandstone reservoir and overlying McKinlay Member. Bauer‐20 to ‐23 will be drilled from a single pad and located approximately 32.8 feet (10 meters) apart at surface, with directional drilling to commence from depths of approximately 2,296.5 feet (700 meters) to reach target zones. Top hole batch drilling at Bauer‐20, ‐21 and ‐22 was undertaken in February. Bauer‐23 will spud imminently and be drilled to total depth, with production hole drilling at Bauer‐20, ‐21 and ‐22 to follow.

Circle Abandons Shisr-1 Well Due to Drilling Difficulties

Middle East and North Africa-focused junior energy firm Circle Oil reported Wednesday that it will plug and abandon its Shisr-1 well on Block 49, onshore southern Oman, due to drilling difficulties.

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Circle explained that the drilling equipment’s bottom-hole assembly (BHA) became stuck below the 9.625-inch casing shoe that had been set at 2,687 feet. Several attempts were made to remove the BHA but these proved unsuccessful. Drilling information, confirmed by the company’s independent drilling advisor, suggests that the main problem zone is immediately below the casing shoe and that any further attempts to deepen or side track the borehole are inadvisable.

The well reached a depth of 5,413 feet before encountering problems; its target had been the Hasirah sands that had been estimated to lie at a depth of 6,200 feet. No hydrocarbons were found. Circle said that the drilling difficulties have not been encountered to the same extent in previous wells in the area.

Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas has given its approval to plug and abandon the well.

Circle Chairman Steve Jenkins commented in a company statement:

“This well was always deemed as high risk and the unexpected and disappointing conditions experienced in this well, designed as a slim-hole stratigraphic test, have been a challenge to our drilling team.”

Cap Boujdour Well Offshore Morocco ‘Not Commercial’

Kosmos Energy announced Monday that its CB-1 exploration well, located in the Cap Boujdour permit area offshore Morocco, has discovered 46 feet of gas and condensate pay in clastic reservoirs. However, the discovery has also been deemed non-commercial and the well will now be plugged and abandoned.

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The CB-1 well was designed to open the frontier Laâyoune Basin by testing the Al Khayr prospect, but despite not being a commercial find Kosmos believes it has significantly de-risked further exploration by demonstrating a working petroleum system in the area.

Kosmos Chairman and CEO Andrew Inglis commented in a company statement:

“The well results confirm the substantial exploration potential of our 22,000 square-kilometer [8,190 square-mile] Cap Boujdour block, which includes a diverse range of independent plays and fairways with multiple prospects. Going forward, the key exploration challenge is finding reservoirs of commercial size and quality. We will analyze the information gathered from CB-1 and integrate it with the additional 3D seismic data we recently acquired to refine our exploration plan, including deciding on the location and timing of a potential second well.”

Inglis added that the Atwood Achiever (UDW drillship), which was used to drill CB-1, will now proceed to Mauritania to test the Tortue Prospect.

Drombeg Prospect Suggests Large Deep-water Fan System

Irish explorer Providence Resources reported Tuesday that an initial evaluation of fast-track 3D seismic data acquired over its Drombeg prospect offshore southwest Ireland has revealed seismic morphologies that are consistent with those of a large deep-water fan system.

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The data also suggests that the Drombeg fan, situated in Frontier Exploration Licence 2/14, is being sourced from the Porcupine Bank via discrete sediment feeder systems. In addition, an initial review of the seismic gathers during data processing has also confirmed anomalous Class II AVO (amplitude versus offset) behavior within the prospect, Providence said.

Further seismic interpretation work is continuing on the fast-track 3D volume and the main interpretation, mapping and seismic attribute analysis work will be completed on the final migrated 3D volume, which is due to be received at the end of April.

Providence Technical Director John O’Sullivan commented in a company statement:

“We are providing this market update on these very initial observations from the Drombeg 3D survey given that Polarcus are making a presentation on this survey today at the APPEX Global 2015 Conference in London. Whilst much further work remains to be carried out, we are obviously encouraged by these initial results, which appear to validate our previous work. Given its considerable prospective resource potential, the Drombeg project has already attracted expressions of interest from a number of major international oil companies and we plan to hold prospect presentations later in the year once a comprehensive data analysis has been completed.”

Venezuela Objects to Oil Exploration off Neighboring Guyana

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana said Sunday that neighboring Venezuela is objecting to oil exploration in contested waters off the smaller South American country’s coast.

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There has been a decades-long territorial dispute between South America’s biggest oil producer and sparsely populated Guyana, one of the region’s poorest nations.

Guyana’s foreign affairs ministry said that Caracas objects to plans for an exploratory well to be drilled in an area it contends is within Guyana’s territorial waters. A subsidiary of U.S.-based Exxon Mobil Corp plans to conduct exploratory drilling later this month under a Guyana concession.

Guyana said it is requesting that Venezuela “desist from taking any actions that could only result in the stymieing of the development of Guyana.”

Venezuela has for decades claimed two-thirds of Guyana’s territory as its own, arguing that the gold-rich region west of the Essequibo River was stolen from it by an 1899 agreement with Britain and its then-colony. The area, roughly the size of the U.S. state of Georgia, is often shown in 19th-century maps of Gran Colombia, the short-lived republic revered by the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, has previously described the dispute as a relic of the colonial era and vowed to peacefully resolve the issue in accordance with international law. But the issue is not going away.

About two years ago, a ship conducting a seismic study for Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. under a concession from Guyana was detained by Venezuela. Guyana said the ship and its 36-man crew, including five Americans and workers from Russia, Indonesia and Brazil, were well within its territorial waters at the time. The vessel was released after a week.

Weeks later, Guyana temporarily placed its troops on alert after a report that Venezuelan soldiers might cross into a Guyana-held area along the Essequibo River. Guyana’s government had not taken such a step since 1982, when Venezuelan military planes flew over parts of the area it has claimed in the sprawling border dispute.

Eirik Raude Rig Arrives Ahead of Falklands Drill

Junior oil firm Rockhopper Exploration reported Tuesday that the Eirik Raude (UDW semisub) rig has arrived in the North Falkland Basin in the South Atlantic and will shortly move to location to drill a well on the Zebedee prospect.

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This well is the first in a six-well drilling campaign that will see fours wells drilled in the North Falkland Basin and two to the south of the Falkland Islands.

The Zebedee reservoir is an eastern flank fed fan system originating from the same canyon as Casper South at the southernmost boundary of PL032. The Zebedee reservoir lies above the regional oil-water contact and the prospect is estimated to be relatively low risk at this level, according to Rockhopper.

Otto Pares Stake in Philippines’ SC55, Secures Drillship for Hawkeye-1 Well

Australia’s Otto Energy Ltd. reported Monday that its subsidiary Otto Energy Philippines Inc. (Otto Philippines) has signed a farm-in agreement with Red Emperor Resources NL (Red Emperor) to earn a 15 percent working interest in Service Contract (SC) 55, offshore the Philippines.

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Otto has also executed a letter of intent with Maersk Drilling, one of the world’s largest offshore drilling companies, to secure the Maersk Venturer (UDW drillship) to drill the Hawkeye-1 exploration well.

Hawkeye Exploration Prospect

Hawkeye is a large turbidite clastic prospect identified on modern 3D seismic acquired in 2010. The Gross Prospective Resource Best Estimate for Hawkeye is 112 million barrels (Net Prospective Resource 74 million barrels to Otto). Success at Hawkeye will unlock a significant new hydrocarbon play in the deepwater Southern Palawan with material follow-up potential in the carbonate leads and prospects (Gross Prospective Resource Estimate ~11 trillion cubic feet or Tcf and ~400 million barrels of Condensate) also identified on 3D seismic. With drilling now to occur in 3Q 2015, Otto shareholders will participate in this exciting and material opportunity.

Red Emperor Farm-in

Red Emperor, listed on the ASX and AIM, has agreed to farm-in to SC55 and earn a 15 percent working interest by participating in the drilling of the Hawkeye-1 exploration well.

This farm-in, along with the $24.5 million funding committed by BHP Billiton and the expression of interest received in January from PNOC-EC for a further 15 percent working interest, ensures that Otto is fully funded and has mitigated significant financial risk associated with the drilling of Hawkeye-1.

Letter of Intent for Maersk Venturer Drillship

Otto Energy Investments Ltd. (a 100 percent subsidiary of Otto and Operator of SC55) (OEIL) has entered into a Letter of Intent with Maersk Drilling to secure the Maersk Venturer ultra-deepwater drillship to drill the Hawkeye-1 exploration well. Maersk Venturer is one of the most modern and advanced drillships in the world. This rig has the required capability to drill the Hawkeye-1 exploration well.

The Maersk Venturer was commissioned in 2014 and was built at the Samsung Heavy Industries yard in Korea. The Maersk Venturer is one of the newest drillships in the world, capable of operating in up to 11,811 feet (3,600 meters) of water, with dual drilling derricks, high capacity mud pumps and bed space for 230 personnel. The Maersk Venturer has recently completed work for Total Malaysia. Detailed contractual arrangements with Maersk Drilling will be finalized in the coming weeks.

Hibiscus to Capitalize on Lower Service Rates for 2015 Drilling Operations

Malaysia’s oil and gas exploration and production firm Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad plans to seize opportunities presented by the decline in service rates resulting from the current low oil price environment as it carries out its 2015 work program, a top company executive said, as quoted in local daily The Star Friday.

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Firms such as Hibiscus hopes to benefit from the decline in service rates, including day rates for rigs as it has several drilling projects planned this year.

Among the drilling operations planned for 2015 are exploration wells in the Sharjah concession in the United Arab Emirates and the Sea Lion prospect in permit VIC/P57 offshore Australia, Hibiscus revealed in a company presentation earlier this month.

The company will also conduct drilling at Oman’s offshore Block 50 and two development wells at the West Seahorse field in Permit VIC/L31 offshore Australia, while it is part of a joint venture drilling in PL 591, PL 708 & PL 616 licenses offshore Norway.

“The drilling climate is extremely attractive right now, with drilling rates down by 25 percent compared to the same period last year. Therefore, as subscribers to services, we see this as an opportunity. A year ago, we could only drill four wells but today, given the generally low service company rates, we could be drilling five wells,” Managing Director Dr Kenneth Pereira commented at a luncheon talk organized by MIDF Investment Bank Bhd.

Meanwhile, Hibiscus is optimistic about achieving its five-year reserves target of 100 million barrels as it already has 12.3 million barrels.

“Therefore, with the five wells to be drilled this year, we would be seeing more than 100 million barrels in reserves,” he Pereira added.

Looking ahead, the Hibiscus managing director believed that that falling oil prices are cyclical and the oil and gas industry would adapt to the circumstances.

“We believe that in the mid-term, the oil price will go up, according to expert consensus … Prices would start turning favorable towards the second half of this year, as supply and demand slowly find an equilibrium,” Pereira said.

The current oil price environment present acquisition opportunities for the company and Hibiscus would focus on securing upstream assets in areas that are geopolitically stable.

Falcon ‘Disappointed’ with NIS over Mako Trough License

Falcon Oil & Gas CEO Philip O’Quigley said Monday that the company is “very disappointed” with its partner, Naftna Industrija Srbije, after its failure to drill a third well on Falcon’s Mako Trough license, onshore Hungary, within the timeframe agreed between the two companies.

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In January 2013, Falcon and NIS agreed to complete a three-well drilling program targeting the Algyo play by July 2014. Under the terms of the agreement NIS made a cash payment of $1.5 million and agreed to carry Falcon for 100 percent of all costs associated with the drilling and testing program.

The deadline was extended in July 2014 until December 31 2014 to enable NIS to fulfil the program, but NIS had only drilled and tested two wells by the new deadline.

Falcon said that it is currently evaluation the options available to it.

O’Quigley said in a company statement:

“We would like to thank NIS for their partnership over the last two years. The first two wells in the three-well program were drilled and tested professionally. However, we are very disappointed that NIS has not fulfilled its obligations in accordance with the terms of the agreement and we will now pursue all options available to the company.”

“Falcon remains focused on the potential farm-out of the Mako deep play and is currently working with industry to evaluate potential options.”

BP to Hand Back Two Exploration Blocks to Indonesia on Risk Concerns

JAKARTA, Jan 30 (Reuters) – UK-listed energy giant BP has decided to relinquish two exploration blocks to Indonesia, after a survey of the blocks found them to be high risk, the company said on Friday.

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“Following the result of the 3D seismic evaluation, earlier this quarter we have made the decision to relinquish both West Aru I and West Aru II blocks,” BP Indonesia head of country Dharmawan Samsu told Reuters via email.

“The evaluation suggests that these blocks are both technically very high risk and commercially very challenging.”

BP was awarded rights to explore the two blocks, in eastern Indonesia’s Maluku province, in November 2011, the company website says. The water depths in the two blocks range from 200 metres up to 2,500 metres, it says.