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Australia’s Woodside Petroleum’s Libyan oil exploration

From AFX Europe (Focus): Australia’s Woodside Petroleum’s Libyan oil exploration program gains momentum
Published: Jul 14, 2006

SYDNEY (XFN-ASIA) – Woodside Petroleum Ltd said its oil exploration program in Libya is gaining momentum following the start of drilling at its first well in March.

The company, 34 pct owned by the Royal Dutch Shell group, has the third largest exploration acreage position in the oil and gas rich north African nation with nearly 60,000 sq km.

Woodside exploration and new ventures director Agu Kantsler said, in an opening briefing lodged with the Australian Stock Exchange, in the current campaign Woodside plans to drill 17 exploration wells over the next 18 months.

Of those wells, 13 are likely to be onshore and four will be offshore.

Kantsler said the onshore targets are generally in the range of 20-50 mln barrels, but smaller accumulations can be economic dependent on the vicinity of existing infrastructure.

He said target sizes for the offshore wells are in the 100s of mln barrel range.

The drill program follows seismic survey work.

Kantsler said preliminary interpretation of the seismic data have identified several large structures offshore.

He said the onshore seismic program, completed in early June, was the largest in north Africa.

Kantsler said the first well drilled, the A1-NC209 well in the Sirte Basin, 1,000 km east of Tripoli and 30 km north of the producing Bu Attifel oil field, confirmed the presence of an oil column during a production test.

“Woodside will evaluate all the geological, drilling and DST (drill stem test) data that has been gathered before determining what work is required to further assess the accumulation,” he said.

A second exploration well in the Sirte Basin (A1-NC205) is expected to start drilling before the end of July.

Drilling in the Murzuq Basin commenced at the end of May with the A1-NC210 exploration well, 1000 km south-south west of Tripoli and 150 km south of the producing Al Wafa oil/gas field.

Kantsler said after reaching a total depth of 1042 meters wireline logs indicated the well had encountered several separate hydrocarbon bearing zones.

He said a production test of the deepest zone confirmed the presence of a gas column and flowed 5.5 mln standard cubic feet of gas per day (MMscfd) through a 52/64 inch choke. The absolute open flow is calculated to be 19.9 MMscfd.

“The hydrocarbon intersections and flows in our first two onshore Libyan wells are very encouraging in themselves and for the rest of the drill program,” Kantsler said.

Meanwhile, he said, Woodside is planning to drill the first of its four offshore wells in late 2006/early 2007, depending on drill rig schedules.

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