Ivanhoe reported its financial results and operating highlights for the third quarter of 2010. Ivanhoe Energy has filed its quarterly financial report on Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission and its Interim Financial Statements with the Canadian Securities Administrators for the period ended September 30, 2010. All figures reported are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.
Tamarack Project - Canada
During the third quarter, detailed work continued on the preparation of the regulatory application for the Tamarack Project. This work culminated in the submission of the regulatory application for the Tamarack Project to the Government of Alberta, as announced on November 4, 2010. The regulatory review process is expected to require approximately 18 to 24 months.
The regulatory application contains a full description of the detailed project development plan and a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment. The application proposes developing an integrated in-situ heavy oil project to be built in two phases, each 20,000 barrels per day, with ultimate production capacity of approximately 40,000 barrels per day (bitumen basis). The integrated project consists of an upstream, steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) project using state-of-the-art-technology and a proprietary field-located HTL upgrader. The application envisages the engineering, design and supply of HTL upgrading capacity to match the field production.
In support of the application, Basic Engineering and Design (BED) and Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) were completed to generate a Class III (+25/-20%) capital cost estimate. Ivanhoe Energy's top-tier contractors, AMEC in London, England and AMEC BDR in Calgary, Alberta worked closely with Ivanhoe Energy's technical team throughout this process.
In addition, in order to maximize economic returns, Ivanhoe Energy retains flexibility regarding the timing for deployment of HTL upgrading capacity. Based on current market conditions in Western Canada, including historically narrow heavy-light price differentials and low natural gas prices, a stand-alone upstream project provides a superior economic return to a project integrating upstream operations with an upgrading facility. Ivanhoe Energy will continue to monitor market conditions to capitalize on changing markets by adjusting project scope and timing.
The Tamarack Project has been designed to meet or exceed all applicable regulatory requirements including no freshwater use, a water recycle rate of over 95 percent and state-of-the-art air emission controls.
Ivanhoe Energy's independent reserve evaluator, GLJ Petroleum Consultants Ltd. (GLJ), has assigned best-estimate contingent resources of 441 million barrels of bitumen to the Tamarack Project. With the submission of the regulatory application, Ivanhoe Energy expects to update its resource estimates concurrent with the Company's year-end reporting and transition a portion of its contingent resources to the probable and possible reserve category.
Pungarayacu Project - Ecuador
During the third quarter, operations in Ecuador were focused on Ivanhoe Energy Ecuador's IP-5b well in the southern portion of Block 20.
The IP-5b well was successfully drilled, cored and logged to a total depth of 1,080 feet. The well then was perforated in the Hollin oil sands and steam was successfully injected into the reservoir. This was followed by the production of heated heavy oil back to the well bore and to surface.
Independent lab analysis of the oil produced from the IP-5b well indicates an API gravity of approximately 9 to 10 degrees. The oil demonstrated very favorable viscosity reduction at elevated steaming temperatures. The produced oil also contained dissolved gas, which further enhances its mobility in the reservoir and will positively impact thermal recovery potential. The Hollin formation has exhibited very favorable reservoir permeabilities, and this is the primary sandstone reservoir and principal producing formation in the Oriente Basin, one of the most productive of the South American Sub-Andean Basins.
Production testing at the IP-5b well is continuing. The recently completed steam program was initiated in the Hollin formation at a depth of approximately 750 feet. During the drilling and coring of the well, oil shows also were encountered in the shallower, Napo T-Sand formation at a depth of approximately 540 feet. A specific program is underway to test this formation.
Ivanhoe Energy has a three-year evaluation phase for Block 20 and the Pungarayacu field which commenced in May 2009. This phase includes the drilling of appraisal wells as well as a seismic acquisition program in order to increase understanding of the geological faulting that is known to be present on Block 20.
Ivanhoe Energy Ecuador plans to commence a seismic program following testing operations at the IP-5b well.
China - Zitong Block
Significant progress was made during the third quarter in Sunwing Energy's gas exploration operations in south-western China, leading to an upwards revision of the Company's view of the upside potential for the Zitong block.
Drilling operations at Zitong-1 and Yixin-2 were initiated in mid-June and mid-August 2010, respectively. Both wells are located on the Zitong block, a 2,669 square kilometer block in the Sichuan Province, China's most prolific gas producing region.
The Zitong-1 well is being drilled on the Guan structure and, at 70-square-kilometers, it is the largest structure on the Zitong block. The Yixin-2 well is being drilled as a twin of Yixin-1, a well drilled by Sunwing in 2007 that generated significant preliminary gas flow rates but was shut-in due to surface equipment failure during the initial hours of the testing program.
Drilling operations on both wells proceeded successfully during the third quarter. Early positive indicators include high reservoir pressures and gas observed in the drilling mud at surface. Operations have proceeded cautiously as increasing wellbore pressure has required significant increases in the drilling mud weight to ensure safe drilling operations.
After the end of the quarter, Ivanhoe Energy announced that it had drilled through the upper targets at Zitong-1, the Xu-5 and Xu-4 formations, and had encountered better-than-expected reservoir characteristics. This information resulted from logging and wireline coring activities on the Xu-5 and Xu-4. Data from the open-hole logs indicate the Xu-5 and Xu-4 formations most likely share the same pressure regime, with a total sand shale sequence of 357 meters, from 3,445 meters to 3,802 meters. Within this sequence, up to 58 meters (190 feet) of primary sand package has been identified in four sand packages between 3,841 meters and 3,564 meters in the lower Xu-5 formation with porosity ranging up to 13%, and an additional 22 meters (72 feet) of secondary reservoir sand in three sand packages between 3,592 meters and 3,801 meters in the Xu-4 formation with porosity up to 8.5%.
Drilling at Zitong-1 is continuing towards the lower target, the Xu-2 formation, to a planned total depth of approximately 4,500 meters (14,764 feet). Horizontal drilling options will be determined after testing of the vertical wellbore is completed. Sunwing expects to reach total depth at Zitong-1 by the end of November and then testing operations will proceed.
Drilling at Yixin-2 well is nearing total depth and the well will be logged, cored and tested in the fourth quarter of 2010.
China - Dagang
At the Dagang field, production was 610 net barrels of oil per day after royalties in the third quarter of 2010 compared to 1,403 net barrels of oil per day after royalties during the third quarter of 2009. The Dagang field reached cost recovery in September 2009, reducing the Company's working interest revenue from 82 percent to 49 percent. In addition, the Company is under a 2010 production quota of 70,000 gross tonnes (approximately 1,400 barrels of oil per day) and, consequently, volumes for the third quarter were reduced. Volumes for the fourth quarter 2010 will also be reduced in order to adjust production to meet the quota. The exit rate at September 30, 2010 was 1,058 gross barrels per day from 25 producing wells compared to 1,988 gross barrels per day from 38 wells at September 30, 2009.
During the third quarter, the Company continued work to obtain immigration permits for the drilling crew and logistics related to the transport of a rig from China to Mongolia. Due to delays associated with these activities, the Company expects to initiate drilling operations in Mongolia in the first quarter of 2011. Construction of the initial well location and transport of the rig will continue to proceed in anticipation of the commencement of drilling, and pending appropriate weather conditions.
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