Northern Petroleum announces plans to commence drilling in mid 2012 on the Guyane permit offshore French Guiana, to follow up on the Zaedyus oil discovery in late 2011 that demonstrated the prospectivity of this licence area off South America. This is a relatively low cost investment for Northern with high upside potential.
In the Zaedyus exploration well, 72 metres of net oil pay was discovered in two turbidite sand systems in the first phase of drilling – successfully proving that the Jubilee play is mirrored across the Atlantic from West Africa.
The second phase of drilling is planned to involve the spudding of a de-lineation well on the discovery, likely to be followed by an exploration well on one of the neighbouring prospects within the area captured by 3D seismic survey. Additional 3D seismic is also planned to be acquired from midyear to further delineate leads on trend and similar to the Zaedyus discovery mapped on 2D seismic along the length of the deepwater margin.
To undertake these operations Shell, who took over as Operator from Tullow Oil on 1 February 2012, has contracted the Stena DrillMax ICE drillship, which is expected to commence operations midyear subject to government consents.
The partner interests in offshore Guyane are: Shell 45%, Tullow 27.5%, Total 25%, Northpet Investments 2.5% (Northern owns a 50% equity interest in Northpet)
Derek Musgrove, Managing Director of Northern stated:
”Northern is pleased that the successful Zaedyus oil discovery is to be quickly followed by a new drilling campaign. This will not only further delineate the discovery structure, but will also move forward to drill some of the similar prospects defined by 3D seismic in order to confirm the wider significant potential of this permit area covering the entire length of the prospective continental shelf edge of Guyane, a distance of about 200 kilometres.”
- Tullow makes Kenya’s first oil discovery (independent.co.uk)
- Africa Seen Mirroring Brazil in Atlantic Coast Drilling:Energy (businessweek.com)
Assuming the semi-submersible leaves July 1 and an anticipated 60- to 80-day transit, it should arrive in Cuban waters by September. Scarabeo 9 could then begin drilling for a consortium led by Repsol YPF “sometime in October, worst-case and no weather- or other related delays,” said Jorge Piñón, a Miami-based oil industry expert.
Scarabeo 9 is currently under construction at the Keppel Fels Shipyard in Singapore. Arrival had originally been expected for early this year. Saipem cited “modifications requested by clients and a delay in the construction schedule” in its quarterly report. Construction of Scarabeo 9 is complicated by U.S. content restrictions.
“Everybody is anxious,” Basic Industries Ministry official Rafael Tenreyro told reporters during a recent oil conference in Havana. “Ninety-nine percent of the platforms are late. It’s normal, it’s not extraordinary.”
Once the Repsol assignment is done, the Scarabeo 9 is scheduled to perform at least four more exploratory drills through 2013 for other oil companies in Cuban waters. The drills will be in water depths between 400 meters (0.25 miles) and 1,500 meters (1.6 miles). Six companies and consortia have contracted offshore 22 blocks in Cuba.
Cuban officials are hopeful to tap big oil and gas reserves in the Gulf, saying that foreign oil companies have identified more than 20 prospects for commercially viable finds.