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Exploration Drilling updates from around the world, summarised by the NVentures editorial team.


Africa (August 2019) by Peter Elliott

Offshore Cameroon, Tower Resources has signed an LOI to use the COSL Seeker rig to drill NJOM-3 instead of the Topaz Driller, which has been released.

Onshore Congo (DRC), local firms SARPD and PEPA announced a large oil discovery in the Cuvette Basin.

In Egypt, TransGlobe announced NWG 38-D1, NW Gharib, is an oil discovery. Offshore in the Nile Delta, Shell is drilling Montu-1 in West Delta Deep Marine.

In Gabon, BW and Panoro announced hydrocarbons at their Hibiscus Updip prospect on the Dussafu Marin Permit, offshore Gabon. The new reserves will be developed along with the Ruche and Ruche NE pools. Resources have increased on the block after recent appraisal and development drilling.

Offshore Ghana, the Nyankom-1X well, South Deepwater Tano (AGM operator) has completed operations as the well moved off site. Near the Odum Field, Springfield have contracted the Stena Forth for a two-well exploration campaign on WCTP-2 begin Q3/Q4.

Total have had disappointing results at Jamm-1XB in Senegal (Rufisque Offshore Profond). They announced a non-commercial discovery. The rig has now re-mobilised to Mauritania and is drilling the Richat-1X well in Block C9 for Total.

In Nigeria, Eni (NAOC) has made a significant gas and condensate find in the deeper sequences of the Obiafu-Obrikom fields with well Obiafu 41 Deep, in OML 61, onshore Niger Delta. Oando and NNPC partner. ENI (NAOC) has now spud Ogbaimbiri Deep East, OML 63.

NNPC announced that Kolmani River-2, OPL 806, is planning to test soon. Kolmani River-3, OPL 806, is planned to be drilled after Kolmani River-2.

In South Sudan, CNPC have announced a large oil discovery near the Adar oilfield.

The Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons for Equatorial Guinea announced that Noble had discovered more hydrocarbons at Aseng-6P on Block I. The well should add to the Aseng Development reserves base very quickly.



Asia Pacific (August 2019) by John Wilkinson

In Australia, Strike Energy has made a significant gas discovery in exploration well West Erregulla-2 located in EP 469 onshore North Perth Basin. The Wagina sandstones were encountered at a depth of 4,106m and found to contain a 10m net reservoir with a total gross gas column of 79m so far. This discovery is analogous to the Beharra Springs gas field only 9km from EP 469. The primary target, the Kingia High Cliff sandstones which are home to the Waitsia gas field, is yet to be drilled. Buru Energy has identified a possible oil producing zone in Adoxa-1 exploration well located in EP 428 onshore Canning Basin. A suite of open hole wireline logs and pressure measurements identified a 20m zone in the Upper Anderson section at around 1,900m depth with potential oil flow. The well has reached TD at 2,300m and cased hole production tests are to be run to determine the reservoir flow characteristics and the composition of the reservoir fluids. Cooper Energy is currently drilling Annie-1 in VIC/P44. This is the first of a two-well exploration program and is the first well to be drilled in the offshore Otway Basin in seven years. The prospect is located close to the Henry, Netherby, Casino and Minerva fields from which Cooper Energy and Mitsui currently produce gas and therefore any further gas discoveries may be developed utilising the existing offshore infrastructure and process the gas at the nearby Minerva Gas Plant which the joint venture has contacted to acquire. The primary target is gas in the the Waarre C Formation, which is producing at the Minerva and Casino gas fields. The Waarre A Formation, from which Casino, Henry and Netherby fields produce, is a secondary target. Cooper Energy announced a Best Estimate (P50) Prospective Resource of 70.5 Bcf. After Annie-1 the rig will move to VIC/L24 where Elanora-1 will test the largest undrilled structure in the joint venture’s acreage. In the Galilee Basin, Comet Ridge is drilling Albany-2 in ATP 744. The target zone is the Lake Galilee Sandstone which is estimated to be 280m thick at a depth of 2,430m where the coring of a number of representative sections of the reservoir sands and intervening shales will be performed. The Lake Galilee Sandstone section was encountered in Albany-1 and flowed gas, without stimulation, at 230,000 scfd from the top 10% of the target reservoir. Albany-2 is located approximately 7km from Albany-1 and will appraise the scale of the gas potential of the Albany Field. In the Amadeus Basin of the Northern Territory, Santos continues to drill Dukas-1 in EP112. The well aims to assess the regional sub-salt play at the Dukas structure. Previous wells, Magee-1 and Mt Kitty-1, have demonstrated a working hydrocarbon system. The well has currently reached the Gillen Formation at around 3,700m where significantly higher than expected formation pressures have been encountered. This overpressure is associated with an inflow of gas and options for a forward plan are being considered by the joint venture including temporary suspension of the well. The primary target is a potentially multi-tcf prospect in the Heavitree Quartzite/fractured basement which has not yet been intersected. The basement below the Heavitree Formation is a secondary target and is planned to be evaluated as well. On the North-West shelf Bedout Sub-basin in WA-437-P, Santos is now drilling Dorado-3 which is the second appraisal of the Dorado oil and gas field discovered in 2018. The well is located approximately 900 metres north west of the Dorado-1 which discovered hydrocarbon bearing reservoirs in the Caley, Baxter, Crespin and Milne Members of the Lower Keraudren Formation. Dorado-3 has been designed to enhance the Joint Venture’s confidence in the subsurface characteristics and confirm reservoir productivity. It is planned to conduct 2, and potentially up to 3, flow tests targeting the Caley, Baxter and Milne reservoirs, as well as acquire approximately 380 metres of full-bore core in the Caley, Baxter, Crespin and Milne Members. This will result in a significant amount of new data to further characterise the Dorado field. Santos has received approval for the first Environmental Management Plan to be awarded for onshore shale gas exploration in the Northern Territory since the moratorium was lifted in early 2018. Following the encouraging results of Tanumbirini 1 in 2014 Santos now plans to drill the Tanumbirini 2H and Inacumba 1/1H wells in EP 161 in the McArthur Basin, east of Daly Waters.

In the Australia/Timor-Leste Basin Block JPDA 11-106, Eni has plugged and abandoned Kanase-1 as a non-commercial discovery. This was the first of a two well commitment for Eni on the license.

Offshore Brunei in the Sabah Basin, Petronas has drilled Kembayau East-1 in deepwater Block CA2. The drillship has left the location, but no results have been released.

In the Tarakan Basin of Indonesia, Star Energy drilled commitment exploration well Stella-1X. The well is located in Sebatik PSC onshore Nunukan Island, North Kalimantan. The well reached 953m MD with minor gas shows. It has now been plugged and abandoned as a dry hole. In the East Jabung PSC of South Sumatra, Repsol is expected to spud Anggun-1X in October.

In Malaysia, Shell had a 3-well campaign in SK318 targeting the Middle Miocene carbonates. All three wells, Gandarusa-1, Jerangau-1 and Gajus-1, have now been drilled. Gandarusa-1 was plugged and abandoned as a tight hole, but no results have been released for the other two wells. Offshore peninsular Malaysia in Block PM307, International Petroleum Corporation has commenced a multi-well drilling program comprising 5 infill wells in the Bertam Field and the Keruing-1 exploration well targeting a prospect in the I-35 reservoir 600m shallower than the Bertam Field. Keruing-1 has now been plugged and abandoned after the reservoir was found to be water-bearing.

In Myanmar offshore Block M11, PTTEP drilled PWC-1 to prove up resources in the block. The well was due to be completed in June, but no results have been released.

In Gulf of Thailand Block G11/48, MP G11 (Mubadala) well Nong Nuch-4 reached total depth in July and encountered 0.9m of oil. In onshore concession L53, Pan Orient Energy is set to start a 2 exploration and 1 appraisal well campaign at the end of August. A second 3 to 4 exploration well drilling campaign, focused in the region of the L53-DD oil discovery, is likely to commence in late October to early November,

Offshore Vietnam in the Song Hong Basin Block 114. Eni’s exploration well Ken Bau-1X has proven the presence of gas and condensate in the Ken Bau prospect.

The well encountered several intervals of gas and condensate sandstones interbedded with Miocene age shale, with an estimate net reservoir thickness of more than 100m. The well was plugged and abandoned ahead of the original plan due to technical issues, prior to reaching deeper levels that could hold significant additional resources. Eni is already planning a drilling campaign early next year to fully assess the substantial upside of the discovery.



Latin America and Caribbean (August 2019) by Rog Hardy


In Bolivia’s Tarija foldbelt, YPFB’s Sipotindi X-1 is expected to reach TD within a month.


In Brazil’s offshore Sergipe Basin:

-Petrobras’ 3-SES-192 reached TD and testing continues.

-Petrobras spud 3SES193.


In Brazil’s onshore:

-In the Potiguar Basin, Petrobras spud the 3ET2200RN.

-In the Reconcavo Basin, Imetame spud the 1-REN-1-BA.

-In the Parnaíba Basin, Eneva spud the 4ENVSWPGN1MA

-In the Espírito Santo Basin, BGM spud the 3-SDR-2-ES.


In Colombia’s Lower Magdalena Basin, Canacol completed the Ocarina-1 as a gas producer.


In Colombia’s Llanos Basin, ONGC is producing Sol-1 under test conditions.


In offshore Guyana:

-Tullow’s Jethro Lobe-1 reached TD at 4,400m and encountered 55m net oil pay.

-Tullow is now drilling Joe-1, which is expected to be completed in mid-September.

-ExxonMobil concluded the Hammerhead-3 and spud the Ranger-2.


In Mexico’s onshore Sureste Basin PEMEX’s Quesqui-1EXP was completed as a gas producer.


In Mexico’s offshore Sureste Basin:

-Pemex’s Itta-1EXP is still drilling ahead, expected to reach TD in the next few weeks.

-Petronas’ Yaxchilan Este-1 is drilling ahead, expected to reach TD in the next few weeks.


In Suriname, STAATSOLIE plugged the shallow shelf Electric Ray-01 without releasing results.


In Trinidad, Touchstone spud the onshore COHO-1 up-dip from the Corosan-1 targeting the same zone.



Mediterranean and Europe (August 2019) by Jon Ford

The Pannonian Basin is highlighted for its continued high success rates of finding gas: 2 discoveries are confirmed in Croatia, and 3 in Hungary.

Also onshore Europe in established (but clearly not thoroughly explored) basins, in Germany a gas discovery is reported in the northwest whilst we await the results of the test on Steig-1 oil discovery in the Rhine Graben. In the UK, Biscathorpe-2 logs have been re-interpreted to show an oil column in the secondary reservoir, Dinantian carbonates; and a test of the potentially large West Newton wet gas discovery is planned.

Offshore Netherlands shallow water exploration well results are awaited in the Q quadrant.

Meanwhile deepwater exploration is disappointing: Black Sea Bulgaria key well Khan Kubrat-1 is dry; and in the UK West of Shetlands naturally fractured basement play Warwick Deep well 205/26b-13Z tested poorly and has been abandoned. Turkey’s Finike-1 offshore Cyprus well, apparently still drilling, has stirred up the politicians.



Middle East and South Asia (August 2019) by Jonathan Craig

DNO reported that Baeshiqa-1 has been drilled and completed, but did not disclose the results. The deeper Baeshiqa-2 well is being tested.

Petro Matad’s Heron-1 is forecast to be completed around 9th September. The well is in the Tamsag Basin of Block XX, Mongolia. The Red Deer-1 well was spudded in early August.

PPL is drilling its first exploration well, Madain-1, in Block 8. The well, approximately 120km east of Baghdad, will be drilled to a TD around 5,000m.

OGDC made a small discovery with the Pandhi #01 well in the Indus Basin, Pakistan.

MOL is drilling a well on the Men’nah prospect in Block 66 in Oman.

TPAO is drilling Finike-1, East Mediterranean Shelf. Meanwhile, TPAO is understood to have started drilling in disputed waters off Cyprus around mid-July using drillship Yavuz.

Eni is understood to be drilling the Mahani-1 well in Area B, onshore Sharjah.