Pioneer Natural Resources Company announces that its subsidiary, Pioneer Natural Resources South Africa (Pty) Ltd., has tested significant volumes of oil and natural gas from its first exploratory well on its Boomslang prospect (E-DQ1) located on the southern flank of the Bredasdorp Basin in E-P Tract, Block 9, offshore South Africa, south-southwest of the city of Mossel Bay in 450 feet of water. Pioneer is operator of the two million acre E-P tract with a 49% working interest, and SOEKOR E&P (Pty) Ltd, the government-owned company, holds the remaining 51% working interest.
The Boomslang discovery well encountered 128 gross feet (108 net feet) of pay in synrift shallow-marine sands consisting of an oil leg under a gas column at a depth of 6,600 feet. The well was drilled by Transocean Sedco Forex's semisubmersible, Omega. Pioneer's test of a portion of the oil leg interval flowed at rates up to 3,120 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) and 2.6 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFPD) over a 48-hour period on varying choke sizes. Pioneer is also testing the overlying gas column which has been flowing at a constant rate of approximately 24 MMCFPD and 300 barrels of condensate per day (BCPD) for the past five days.
"We are pleased with the positive results of the Boomslang well and excited about the potential that South Africa holds for Pioneer," stated Scott D. Sheffield, Chairman and CEO. "The Boomslang wildcat confirms a prospective oil and gas trend on the southern flank of the Bredasdorp Basin, similar to the gas producing trend on the northern flank, and validates several analogous prospects in this area. With oil development planned in 2001 and 2002 in the Block 9 Sable field, South Africa is fueling significant production growth for Pioneer with first oil production expected in less than 24 months. We are optimistic that this discovery at Boomslang, also in Block 9, is an early indication of our potential for long-term success in South Africa."
Pioneer is planning to drill an appraisal well in the second quarter of 2001 to assess the size and potential commerciality of the Boomslang discovery. Within the next few weeks, Pioneer plans to begin acquisition of a 1,193 square-kilometer (460 square-mile) 3-D seismic survey covering the entire Boomslang prospective trend.
Upon completing the testing of the Boomslang well, Pioneer will use the same rig to drill its first well (E-BB2) to assess the commercial viability of natural gas in the central part of Block 9. Pioneer will act as the operator for the drilling and testing of this gas appraisal well and will earn a 40% WI in the E-BB prospect. SOEKOR E&P has a 60% working interest and is the designated operator for the tract. The proposed E-BB2 appraisal well is a 1,500-foot offset to the E-BB1 discovery (1991) that flowed at a combined rate of 46 MMCFPD and 1,830 BCPD from two individual sands during short flow tests of 8 hours or less in each sand. The objective of E-BB2 will be to perform extended flow tests (5 to 7 days) of at least three gas-bearing sands between the depths of 9,350 feet and 10,000 feet in order to assess potential deliverability and reservoir limits. Several unappraised gas discoveries drilled previously in this play have established the presence of significant reserves estimated by Pioneer to exceed one trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.
As previously announced, development of the Sable oil field is moving toward project sanction. SOEKOR E&P asoperator with 60% working interest), Pioneer (35% working interest and Petroleum Ltd. (5% working interest) are currently evaluating tenders for production facilities and drilling rigs and anticipate formal sanction of the project within the next month. Initial development drilling is scheduled for the second half of 2001, and first oil production is targeted for late 2002 or early 2003.
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