"We don't know how large the discovery is there. It's one of many wells we'll drill there and the next step will be for us to determine with our partners how further to explore and appraise the block," he said.
The company found a 60-foot net oil column at the Puncheon-1 well, which has tested at 4,443 barrels a day (b/d) on a 40-64 inch choke, BHP said in its quarterly report on exploration and development activities.
BHP and its partners will decide where to drill other wells and how to analyze the data, Cassidy said, adding that it is "much too early" to estimate the size of the discovery. The partners have an obligation to drill six wells on the block, of which Puncheon-1 is the third.
BHP is the operator of the block with a 30% stake. Canada's Talisman and UK-based BP Group each own 30% of the block, while France's Total owns the remaining 10%.
Meanwhile, construction work is continuing at the Greater Angostura oil and gas field off the northeast coast of Trinidad, BHP said. "Construction is complete on all four wellhead protector platforms, with one already positioned offshore, and the remaining offshore facilities are being prepared for installation and commissioning," the statement said.
"The project remains on budget and first oil production is on schedule for the end of 2004." Total production at Greater Angostura is expected to reach 100,000b/d, of which BHP's share will be in line with its 45% equity stake.
BHP is the operator and its partners are Total (30%) and Talisman (25%). BHP and its partners are investing US$727mn in the first phase, shared according to their ownership, and work on the onshore oil storage terminal has already begun.
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