CNR Turns On the Tap At Espoir Field Offshore Cote d'Ivoire
Canadian Natural Resources Limited announces that oil production from the Canadian Natural operated Espoir Field, offshore Cote d'Ivoire, Africa, commenced on February 4, 2002 at 8,500 barrels per day from the first producing well in the development program. The production rate will increase over the next several months to 30,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of the third quarter of 2002 as six more wells are completed from the East Espoir wellhead tower in this first phase of development. Production of associated natural gas is expected to increase to 30 million cubic feet per day.
Hydrocarbons are processed on the "Espoir Ivoirien" FPSO. The FPSO has a total capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil per day. The oil will be sold directly from the FPSO and the natural gas will be transported to shore where it is sold for power generation in Abidjan, the major city of Cote d'Ivoire.
Canadian Natural has a 58.67% equity in the Espoir field with partners PETROCI Holding (20%) and Tullow Cote d'Ivoire Limited (21.33%). The Espoir field has estimated recoverable reserves of 93 million barrels of oil and 180 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The second phase of development, which is currently being studied, comprises placing an additional wellhead tower and drilling in the Western lobe of the reservoir. Additional separate satellite prospects are located in Block CI-26, in close proximity to the Espoir field and could also utilize the FPSO installed at Espoir to process additional production.
Canadian Natural acquired a 36.33% equity in the Espoir field with its acquisition of Ranger Oil in July 2000. In May 2001, Canadian Natural acquired an additional interest from a partner and progressed development of the field. This development included the interpretation of seismic, installation of a wellhead tower and pipelines, procurement and construction of the FPSO and commencement of the drilling program. Development of the field has been completed in the time expected and within its capital expenditure budget.
Canadian Natural owns and operates a majority interest in other blocks located in deeper waters offshore Cote d'Ivoire where exploration prospects have been identified. In Block CI-40, 8 kilometers south of Espoir, Canadian Natural operates, with a 61% equity, the Baobab prospect. In 2001, Canadian Natural drilled an exploratory well on this Block that confirmed the seismic interpretation and tested oil at 6,700 barrels per day. A follow-up appraisal well is currently drilling to further define the extent and size of the Baobab prospect. It is expected that this well will have completed drilling and testing prior to the end of February, 2002.