Weather hampers Zhao Dong operations

Offshore staff

SYDNEY, Australia -- Gross oil production from the Zhao Dong C and D fields in China’s Bohai Bay averaged 14,678 b/d in the final quarter of 2009, according to operator ROC Oil. This is 29% lower than in the previous quarter – ROC says output was impacted by an intensive program of well maintenance and restrictions on tanker offloading capabilities due to extreme winter weather. Recent conditions have been the worst experienced in the area for several decades, with record low temperatures, ice flows, and strong winds.

Oil output from the Zhao Dong C4 fields was 67% lower over the quarter at an average of 441 b/d, due mainly to the failure of a power cable between the Zhao Dong and C4/ Extended Reach Area (ERA) facilities on Dec. 6. Attempts to repair the damage have had to be suspended, again due to the weather.

The proposed drilling program for 2010 includes 24 wells, comprising nine producers and four injectors at the C & D fields; seven producers and one injector at the ERA; and three producers at the C4 field. The partners also plan to install a gas pipeline and begin gas export sales to eliminate the need for flaring during normal operations.

In the Beibu Gulf, ROC says the technical section of the Overall Development Plan ("ODP") for the Wei 6-12 amd Wei 12-8 West oil fields was completed on time on Dec. 20. The economic section of the ODP is pending completion of commercial negotiations; however, most of the terms have been agreed with CNOOC. Completion of the ODP is scheduled for the first quarter of this year, and should be followed by formal approvals from the Chinese government and a final investment decision. First oil from the project is slated for the first half of 2012.

Among ROC’s other offshore interests, the company operates the Belo Profond block offshore Madagascar and the Juan de Nova Maritime Profond block in the Mozambique Channel. Here 10 contractors have been approached about a potential 2D seismic acquisition program later this year. In Block H off Equatorial Guinea, where ROC is technical manager, the partners are seeking a rig to drill the Aleta prospect in the second half of this year: two potential rig opportunities have been identified. And offshore Mauritania, preparations are under way for drilling later this year of the Gharabi-1 exploration well in Block C6 and the Cormoran-1 exploratory well in Block 7.

In New Zealand’s offshore Taranaki basin, ROC and its study group partners have submitted a "Priority in Time" application for 232 sq km (89.6 sq mi) of acreage. The area includes the Kaheru prospect, said to be on trend with the Rimu oil and gas field and the Kauri gas/condensate field. The proposed program includes an exploration well (Kaheru-1) in year three of the five-year term. If the application is successful, ROC will operate the license with a 50% interest.


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