As of January 15, 2004, drilling operations had efficiently progressed to a depth of 4,337 meters (14,228 feet); and currently, the Rowan Gorilla V jack-up drilling rig is completing the drilling of the 311 mm (12 1/4 inch) hole section of the well. This section of the well is expected to be completed in the next couple of days. At that time the 273, 251 mm (10 3/4, 9 7/8 inch) casing string will be run. Following completion of that operation, drilling will proceed in the 216 mm (8 1/2 inch) hole section of the well. The "Mariner" I-85 well will take about another 30 days to drill to its targeted total depth of approximately 5,600 meters (18,370 feet) at a total budgeted cost of U.S. $30 million. Testing and evaluation time will be determined based on the detailed formations encountered in the well.
When contacted in Halifax, Mike Coolen, Canadian Superior's Director of East Coast Operations, confirmed the encouraging results, and said, "We are very pleased with what we see in the Canadian Superior El Paso 'Mariner' I-85 well. The drilling is tracking our geological prognosis very well and we have verified that the top of the Upper Mic Mac interval is over 100 meters (328 feet) structurally higher in the 'Mariner' I-85 well, at a depth of 4,284.5 meters (14,057 feet), than in the nearby significant discovery well at 'Arcadia' J-16. This in itself is very encouraging; and, we are also having significant gas shows and early indications of the higher temperatures and higher pressures expected at 'Mariner' I-85."
Speaking in Calgary, Greg Noval, President of Canadian Superior, commented, "The 'Mariner' well is proceeding at a record pace and we are all quite encouraged by the indications to date and cautiously optimistic as we approach the prospective intervals we anticipate in the next section of the well, where we anticipate seeing a series of deltaic gas bearing sediments in the Upper, Middle and lowermost Mic Mac formations. In anticipation, the testing contract for the Canadian Superior El Paso 'Mariner' I-85 has been awarded to Schlumberger Oilfield Services and the test equipment is currently being pressure tested and certified."
Three large "world-class" prospects, with potential reserves of 2.5 tcf of natural gas, have been identified for drilling on the "Mariner" block (EL 2409) utilizing high-resolution seismic. The block encompasses a total area of 101,800 acres and directly offsets five significant discoveries near Sable Island including the 1.6 tcf Venture natural gas field. The "Mariner" well is a High Temperature High Pressure (HTHP) well, drilling to a total depth of approximately 5,600 meters (18,370 feet), utilizing the latest in drilling technology and is evaluating one of the three large structures mentioned above, initially targeting 1.2 tcf of natural gas reserves identified on the first structure which has a potential present value - P.V. 10% of Cdn. $1.8 billion.
El Paso Oil & Gas Canada, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of El Paso Corporation, is participating in the drilling of the "Mariner" Prospect by paying 2/3 of the costs to earn a 50% interest in the "Mariner" Prospect, with Canadian Superior retaining a 50% interest in the Block and paying 1/3 of the costs related to the "Mariner" test well. The Rowan Companies, Inc.'s Rowan Gorilla V jack-up drilling rig has been contracted to drill the well. This first "Mariner" well being drilled to the north of the eastern tip of Sable Island on the Scotian Shelf is only about 9 kilometers (5 1/2 miles) northwest of Sable Offshore Energy Project's Venture natural gas producing field. This well is one of the deepest wells to be drilled in Canada over the next several months and it is located on Exploration License EL 2409, acquired by Canadian Superior in November 2001 for a work expenditure bid of Cdn. $15.5 million.
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