From Malta to Mongolia, a raft of new seismic surveys have been announced. Sean Ottewell reports.
Leni Gas & Oil (LGO) has welcomed the announcement from Mediterranean Oil & Gas (MOG) that it has commissioned the 3D seismic survey for the Area 4 licence offshore Malta under the production sharing contract (PSC) signed with the Maltese government in 2008.
MOG is operator of the Area 4 PSC. LGO owns a 10 per cent interest in the PSC covering Blocks 4, 5, 6 and 7 offshore Malta adjacent to the internationally recognised border with Libya.
LGO chief executive Neil Ritson said: "We are pleased to report progress towards drilling in Malta. Area 4 is surrounded by proven petroleum basins in Libya, Tunisia and Italy and we look forward to evaluating the new data ahead of selecting a possible drilling location in this prospective area of the Mediterranean."
The most mature prospects are located in Block 7 close to the Libyan pelagic basin and are the target of the new seismic data acquisition, the group said.
In market comments, Shore Capital said that although LGO will be placing greater emphasis on its projects in Spain and Trinidad, which are operated, onshore and generally at a later stage of asset development, "we think that this is encouraging news, confirming continued progress on exploration in a highly prospective area."
MOG entered into a PSC with the Maltese government three years ago following an encouraging geological and geophysical pre-assessment of Area 4 undertaken by the company and its consultants.
Four prospects and five leads have been confirmed and delineated in the PSC area. The total un-risked hydrocarbon potential of the PSC area is estimated to be around five billion barrels of oil in place with the resultant total 'most likely case' un-risked prospective recoverable oil resources being about 1500MMbbls.
LGO has also reached agreement to acquire the subsurface rights of several additional land leases in the Cedros Peninsula of SW Trinidad, totalling 937 acres. These leases, which lie immediately adjacent to the company's producing interests at Icacos, will be combined with the 815 acres already leased earlier in 2011 (Fig.1). A private petroleum license will be applied for shortly. These leases require a minimum work programme of geological studies and have no fees other than net production royalties in the event of success.
The Icacos License covers a total of 1960 acres which, with the new 100 per cent owned leases, gives LGO a total interest in over 3700 acres. The company considers this to be a sufficient area to initiate the detailed planning for geophysical surveys; expected to consist of an airborne gravity and magnetic survey in 2012, followed by 2D seismic data and exploration drilling to explore for the Herrera Formation target. This area lies less than 15km from the Venezuelan coast where the equivalent Mio-Pliocene play is proven and has produced close to a billion barrels over the past 80 years. By contrast, very little exploration for the Herrera Formation reservoirs has so far been undertaken in the Cedros Peninsula.
LGO envisages an integrated approach to exploration across the peninsula. Geological and geophysical studies will be combined with data from existing wells in Trinidad and Venezuela. Exploration drilling could be undertaken in 2013 and is expected to involve at least one well to a depth of at least 10 000 feet.
Icacos Field produces from the Upper Cruse reservoir at an average depth of 2000feet. Production is currently coming from three open wells and averaged 35bopd (gross) in 2011. LGO holds a 50 per cent interest in the Icacos License. Potential exists to re-open some of the other 14 wells drilled within the Icacos leases and to explore further for small fields at the Cruse level as well as the deeper Herrera.
Elsewhere in Trinidad, the farm-in to the Advance Oil Moruga North leases has been substantially progressed and it is hoped to drill the first of the three exploration wells in first quarter 2012. A location for the first well has been agreed, environmental permits have been applied for and the contracting of a rig and well services has been initiated.
Progress on the assignment of the Goudron area increased production service contract continues and the company is optimistic that field operations can be commence in early 2012.
"Trinidad provides a major growth area for LGO which combines early production revenues from a large number of existing wells, with very significant exploration upside in a proven hydrocarbon province. We are pleased to report excellent progress and are optimistic about the prospects for 2012," said Ritson.
Guinea and Mongolia, too
Using the survey vessel Oceanic Endeavour, seismic contractor CGGVeritas is to acquire 3D seismic data in a deep water area covering approximately 4000km2 in Hyperdynamics' oil and gas concession offshore Guinea in West Africa. After it completes the data acquisition phase of the project, CGGVeritas will also process the data.
The survey area is located just southwest of and adjacent to the 3D survey obtained by Hyperdynamics in 2010. The primary goal of this new survey is to investigate multiple possible deep water submarine fans in the equatorial Atlantic margin that were identified from a 2D seismic survey acquired in 2009.
Ray Leonard, Hyperdynamics ceo, commented: "The deep water 3D survey will utilise CGGVeritas' BroadSeis broadband solution, which is expected provide a clearer and more detailed image of the subsurface. This 3D survey is a critical next step in our ongoing Guinea exploration campaign, one that should further de-risk our acreage and help us identify the most promising deep water locations for future drilling."
Hyperdynamics operates the Guinea concession with a 77 per cent participating interest, with the remaining 23 per cent held by Aberdeen-based Dana Petroleum, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Korean National Oil Company.
Manas Petroleum has announced the commencement of the second seismic survey on the two Mongolian blocks - Zuunbayan-XIV Block and Tsagaan Els-XIII Block - owned by Gobi Energy Partners (GEP).
This seismic survey includes up to 1700 km of 2D seismic. It covers 10 prospective areas over both blocks, which were identified by both companies. The programme is laid out in eight phases without any interruption between the phases - although some phases do show interdependencies. Preparation and mobilisation has commenced and the acquisition is expected to begin shortly.
This seismic survey is being carried out in an effort to improve the quality of existing data and increase the chances of success of exploratory wells the company intends to drill upon completion and interpretation of the new data. The first well is anticipated to be spudded in the second quarter of 2012.
Manas has also commenced the second seismic survey on CJSC Somon Oil Company's West and North West licenses in the Republic of Tajikistan. This programme includes up to 774km of 2D seismic survey, which up to 115km will be acquired over the WEST license and up to 659km will be acquired over the North West license. An additional 24km will extend across the Kyrgyz/Tajik border into Manas' Tuzluk license in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Somon Oil, a 90 per cent owned subsidiary of DWM Petroleum, signed the agreement for seismic services with the Tajikistan branch of the Kazakh company, DANK Scientific Industrial Firm which has extensive experience in the hydrocarbon exploration industry.
This seismic survey is also being carried out to improve the quality of the existing prospect data so that exploratory wells will be more successful. The first well is anticipated to be spudded at the end of the first quarter of 2012.
Offshore Ship Designers (OSD) has been chosen to design a series of six new fuel-efficient seismic support/chase vessels ordered by French offshore major Bourbon to be built at Dubai's Grandweld Shipyards. The 53 metre vessels will have a fuel-efficient hybrid propulsion system delivering a flexible economic solution for the varied conditions required to support seismic survey vessels including transit speed, slow speed escort and support work and a high manoeuvrability.
Neil Patterson, md of OSD-IMT, the UK arm of OSD, says: "We worked closely with Grandweld during the tender period and following their selection as one of the short-listed bidders, we assisted them technically during the successful contract negotiation process, and are pleased to have been entrusted with the design of these new vessels."
The vessels will be chartered by Bourbon to CGGVeritas with delivery of the first vessels set for the end of 2012. They will be used to support the fleet of CGGVeritas seismic survey vessels operating all over the world, providing services including crew change, fuel delivery, storage, assistance and support during at-sea maintenance operations.
Operational requirements of the design include: cargo runs from port to the mother ship; transfer of fuel, potable water, dry and refrigerated stores and general cargo to the mother ship; transfer of crew to and from the mother ship; accompanying the mother ship when conducting seismic operations; towing of the mother ship when conducting seismic operations; and retrieval of streamer cables.
Key to the new vessels is their propulsion system, which consists of two main marine diesel propulsion engines, two controllable pitch propellers in nozzles, two main gearboxes each with a power-take-in (PTI) electric propulsion motor and three diesel-driven generating sets, and two electrically-driven bow tunnel thrusters.
As pioneers in 3D seismic since the early 1990s, Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) has continuously changed the exploration landscape through technologies related to vessel design, streamer and source technology, and streamer and source handling technology.
With offices in Cork, Foynes, Limerick, Drogheda, Durban, Johannesburg and Aktau, Mainport is an integrated marine services company which provides a full range of marine services to seismic survey companies and others involved in the maritime trades.
The company offers ship agency, stevedoring, oil base management and warehousing services. In terms of ship owning services, Mainport offers: offshore support vessels covering safety standby, tugs, tanker assist, towage, bunkering and seismic support services.
In Sept 2005 Mainport won a contract for the provision of a seismic support vessel from French seismic company CGG. The company has since added a further four vessels to this division, supporting in addition to CGG, Western Geco and Wavefield Inseis. The Mainport Oak, Mainport Ash, Mainport Elm and Seahorse Supporter all operate as seismic support vessels worldwide. This division operates under the Mainport International Corporation banner.
In late 2011 Mainport announced that it had taken the anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessel Dian Alliance on charter from a Norwegian company and converted her for seismic support duties. The ship is currently operating in the North Sea, servicing three seismic vessels for clients.
Nautika is a ship management company specialising in the management of its own vessels and those of other ship owners for the offshore oil and gas industry and is a provider of seismic support vessels. Nautika was incorporated in Brunei in 1991 and became fully operational and registered marine contractor in Negara Brunei Darussalam in 1992. Since then the company says that it has gained reputation as a safe, efficient, quality marine operator both within Brunei waters and throughout South and South East Asia.
The company's operations include a Brunei shore base with a compliment of trained marine professionals qualified to provide vessel technical and maintenance services. Nautika has a long history in providing supply and support vessel to the offshore seismic industry and is operating regionally from Sakhalin to Darwin to India and points in between. The company currently has three seismic vessels available.