The Ayazli-1 well was drilled on the company's South Akcakoca prospect about five miles offshore in the shallow waters of the western Black Sea. The well encountered gas in the Eocene-age Kusuri formation, the well's primary objective. This Tertiary sequence that tested gas in the Ayazli-1 also tested gas in the nearby Akcakoca-1 well drilled by TPAO in 1975.
The Ayazli-1 well will be temporarily suspended pending future development activity in the South Akcakoca area. Toreador plans to conduct a high-definition seismic survey in the fourth quarter of 2004 and drill several appraisal and exploratory wells in 2005 while formulating plans for development infrastructure in the area.
The Ayazli-1 discovery supports Toreador's previous estimate of potential reserves in the South Akcakoca area of approximately 350 billion cubic feet of natural gas based on available information. Drilling costs for the Ayazli-1 well increased from the company's estimated $4.5 million to about $7.0 million due to inclement weather offshore, difficult drilling conditions in the formations below the gas-producing zones and a longer testing period than planned.
"The success of the Ayazli-1 well validates our technological assessment that this shelf-edge play in the Black Sea offers outstanding potential for further exploration and development," said G. Thomas Graves III, Toreador President and Chief Executive Officer.
"The well is in proximity to a major Turkish industrial center, which makes the Ayazli discovery even more important economically and provides a ready market for the gas. This is the first well drilled in the Turkish Black Sea in five years. The achievement is quite gratifying -- for us, our partners and our host government. As operator of the project, Toreador is proud to have played a key role in this venture," Graves added.
The well's secondary objective, a potential oil zone that was indicated on logs in the Akcakoca-1 well in a Mesozoic sand, was porous but not oil bearing.
Spudded in July, the Ayazli-1 well was drilled to a total depth of 5,951 feet in 250 feet of water by the Prometeu jackup supplied by Upetrom Group Management, a Romanian drilling company.
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