Toreador Expects Turkish Production to Start by Year-End
"This fall and winter we have a number of material operational events simultaneously underway," said Toreador President and Chief Executive Officer G. Thomas Graves III. "In a little over two years, we and our joint venture partners have progressed from making the first commercial gas discovery in the Turkish waters of the Black Sea to beginning the first full scale gas production off Turkey's northern coast. In the next few weeks, we will drill our first exploration well in Romania, and are continuing our exploration program in Hungary. The Atwood Southern Cross will begin the second phase of development of the South Akcakoca Sub-basin when it starts drilling later this month, and we will continue development drilling in France. We will have active drilling operations in all four of our host countries through the end of the year and into 2007."
First natural gas production offshore Turkey projected by year end
Offshore Turkey in the Black Sea, construction activities in the South Akcakoca Sub-basin are entering their final stages, with the target of commencing production in late December. Construction of the production facility onshore is progressing well with major equipment scheduled to be moved on site during the last half of October. Installation of the gas plant and pre-commissioning activities are expected to be completed in mid-December. As previously disclosed, the 18-km (11-mile) onshore pipeline tying the production facility into the national grid has already been constructed and tested, and is ready to accept gas.
The offshore pipeline installation is due to start in the next two weeks with the "Regina" pipe lay barge due on location next week. Most of the coated pipe has been delivered to the offshore logistics base in Eregli with the final shipment of pipe in transit from Italy. Completion of the offshore pipeline, with the pipeline ready to accept gas, is expected to be in mid-December.
The Prometeu is finishing operations on the Akkaya production tripod and is preparing to move to the Dogu Ayazli location to set the second production tripod. The Dogu Ayazli tripod will be launched this week and, weather permitting, will pass through the Bosporus and will be on location ready for installation by this weekend. Following the installation of the Dogu Ayazli tripod and the tie-back of the Dogu Ayazli-1 and -2 wells, the Prometheus will be moved to the Ayazli location to set the third tripod and tie back the Ayazli wells. Production topsides are scheduled to be moved out beginning in mid-November for installation, starting with the Akkaya topsides.
The production platforms will be brought online in stages, starting with the Akkaya platform and Dogu Ayazli platform in December and the Ayazli platform added in January 2007. The first phase production rate of approximately 50 million cubic feet per day to the 100% interest of the joint venture is expected to be reached within the first 60 to 90 days from the onset of production. Toreador has a 36.75% interest in the project and is the operator in the South Akcakoca Sub-basin, TPAO has a 51% interest and Stratic has a 12.25% interest.
Drilling to begin this month in deeper waters of South Akcakoca Sub-basin
The Atwood Southern Cross is in Turkish waters and is preparing to transit through the Bosporus and into the Black Sea. The rig is expected to be on location and ready to begin the second phase of development in the SASB by spudding the Akcakoca-3 well during the fourth week of October, in waters slightly too deep for jack-up operations. The Akcakoca-3 will twin the original well drilled in the SASB by TPAO in the early 1970s. The target zones are in the same Eocene-age Kusuri formation as in the Ayazli-Akkaya trend, at a sub-surface depth approximately 250 meters (820 feet) deeper than in the nine successful wells drilled along the Ayazli-Akkaya trend in 2004 through 2006.
The Southern Cross will drill a second well, the Akcakoca-4, before moving to Bulgarian waters to drill for another operator. The rig will return to drill a third well for Toreador in mid-2007 once it completes its drilling program in Bulgaria. Toreador management estimates that 60% of the potential reserves in the project area will be found along the deeper-water Akcakoca trend.
Seismic acquisition underway in Thrace Black Sea permits
To the west of the South Akcakoca Sub-basin, in Turkish coastal waters between the Bulgarian border and the Bosporus, a 1,200-km (745-mile) seismic acquisition program is underway over the 800,000 acres of Toreador's Thrace Black Sea permits. In this permit area, Toreador has a 50% working interest and is the operator. HEMA, a Turkish industrial conglomerate, will earn a 50% working interest by funding the current seismic program. It is anticipated that the program will take four to six weeks to complete, after which the seismic vessel will travel to the eastern Black Sea to conduct a seismic program over Toreador's 100% interest blocks in Turkish coastal waters off Sinop and Trabzon.
Subject to final interpretation of the seismic program results, current plans call for the Prometeu to begin exploration drilling in the Thrace Black Sea permits in the second half of 2007.
Romanian exploration program beginning in Viperesti block
In Romania, Toreador plans to begin drilling exploration prospects in the southern part of its 100%-interest Viperesti block as soon as it receives the necessary permits, which is anticipated within the next 30 to 60 days. As previously disclosed, the company has identified at least ten prospects to drill which range in exploration potential from 12 to 105 million barrels equivalent (MMBOE). It is anticipated that three will be permitted and drilled before winter weather causes a hiatus, with the remaining wells drilled starting in the spring of 2007 after road conditions improve.
The first prospect to be evaluated is the Naeni prospect, which is estimated to contain unrisked potential reserves of between 6 and 50 MMBOE. The Naeni structure is an overturned anticline which is faulted along its axis with seismic anomalies in both the upper and lower fault blocks in Sarmatian sands. Two exploration wells will be drilled on the structure to evaluate the fault blocks, with expected total depths to be 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) for the first well and 900 meters (3,000 feet) for the second well.
The second prospect to be drilled is the Lapos prospect, which targets a Sarmatian sand on the plunging nose of an anticline with the depth of the first well at approximately 1,600 meters (5,200 feet). The unrisked potential of the prospect is 6 to 40 MMBOE, with good seismic anomalies in what appear to be several fault-separated compartments. Analogous fields in the area are approximately 40 MMBOE in size.
After the winter drilling break, current plans are to drill the Salcia prospect, another plunging anticline in the same area as the Lapos prospect with unrisked potential of 7 to 25 MMBOE. The well location is updip from a well drilled in the 1960s that had indications of hydrocarbons in Sarmatian sands from well logs.
In the northern part of the Viperesti block, a geologically-defined prospect in the prolific Oligocene horizons is also scheduled for exploration drilling in the spring of 2007. Based on oil and gas shows in previously drilled exploration tests and other geological information, the prospect may contain unrisked potential reserves of approximately 105 MMBOE. Two wells are planned in the area, with locations to be defined at a later date.
A seismic program is scheduled for the Viperesti, Moinesti and Fauresti blocks in the first half of 2007 to further define exploration prospects.
Hungarian exploration drilling program in Tompa block now underway
In Toreador's 100% interest Tompa block in southern Hungary, the company plans to drill three new exploration wells and re-enter two existing wells by the end of the year. The three exploration wells will be evaluating separate oil and gas prospects in Pannonian, Miocene, Cretaceous and Triassic targets. The two re-entry wells will be used to establish early production in addition to evaluate the potential for similar plays elsewhere in Hungary.
Drilling has started on the Ba-K-1 exploratory well, which is evaluating an oil play in Miocene and Triassic targets. The well is being drilled in a fault block adjacent to but separated from a well which produced approximately 350 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) from the Miocene and 670 BOPD from the upper Triassic in the 1980s. Unrisked reserve potential is estimated to be approximately 2 MMBOE. Projected well depth is approximately 2,000 meters (6,600 feet).
The subsequent two exploratory wells will be drilled to test gas prospects in a Cretaceous limestone from approximately 1,500 to 1,800 meters (5,000 to 6,000 feet) depth and a Pannonian sandstone at approximately 1,200 meters (4,000 feet) depth. Unrisked reserve potentials for the two wells are approximately 5 billion cubic feet of gas each.
By the beginning of November, a second rig is expected to re-enter the KIHA-15 well which was drilled by MOL, the former Hungarian state oil company, in 1988. The well was suspended after testing 2.1 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) of gas from the top 5 meters (16 feet) of an estimated 15 meter (50 feet) thick pay zone in a Miocene sand. The second re-entry well was drilled in 1992 by MOL and tested approximately 1.6 MMCFD of gas in the upper 15 meters (50 feet) of a 45 meter (148 feet) thick Cretaceous limestone at approximately 900 meters (3,000 feet) depth.
Four development wells planned in France
In France, four wells are planned in the Neocomian Field Complex in the Paris Basin. The wells are being drilled to attempt to tap undeveloped oil reserves in a field which has to date produced over 30 million barrels since the 1970s.
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