The objective of the well is an up-dip appraisal in the Hontomin structure where three wells, drilled between 1965 and 1992, confirmed the presence of an oil reservoir. Ascent's partner in this well is Tethys Oil AB of Sweden with a 50% interest. Drilling operations on the well, which is planned to reach a depth of 1,570 meters, can be expected to last some four weeks.
The Huermeces license is 17 km southeast of the Ascent-operated Ayoluengo oilfield in the Sedano basin, 180 km south of Bilbao in northern Spain. The well was spudded at 6 a.m. local time on Saturday. At 6 p.m. local time Sunday, it was drilling ahead in 12¨ù" hole at 50m.
The first Hontomin well, ¢à 1, had oil shows in the Liassic Carniolas Dolomites, and the Hontomin-2 discovery well drilled in 1968, produced on test nearly 3,000 barrels of oil over a 26 day period. Initial rates were over 300 barrels per day of oil, but a rapidly increasing water-cut suggested that the well was close to the oil-water contact. A third well, Hontomin-3 (1991) was unsuccessful, and later seismic work showed that it had been drilled down-dip and on the wrong side of a fault from the main part of the Hontomin structure. The oil is of good quality and is of medium gravity (32¨¬ API).
Once drilling and logging are completed, it is planned that that the rig will return to Italy to evaluate the Anagni-1 well. The testing at Hontomin will use the workover rig and facilities of the Ayoluengo field. Production from Hontomin, as it is for the Ayoluengo field, can be readily transported to market by truck.
Ascent Resources has a portfolio of over 20 oil and gas projects across six countries in Europe. The projects are onshore in Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain, Slovenia and offshore Netherlands. Ascent is at present drilling a program of six wells. Two have already been drilled in Hungary, one of which was a gas discovery. The Anagni-1 well, first of two Italian wells, has been temporarily completed for future deepening and testing and this Hontomin-4 well is the first of two wells in Spain. Later in 2007, two more gas exploration wells are to be drilled in Hungary, high impact gas exploration wells are planned in the Po Valley in Italy, and one well in Switzerland, subject to permitting and rig availability.
Ascent operates Spain's only onshore oilfield, where production currently averages over 100 barrels of oil per day.
With the stable European gas market, Ascent's portfolio favors gas over oil and, with the exception of the
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