Bengal has now assembled an extensive inventory of oil and natural gas drilling opportunities in India and Australia on more than 2.3 million net acres of undeveloped land. These producing and prospective properties range from the Cuisinier oil discovery in Australia's Cooper Basin, where production is expected to come on stream shortly, to high-impact drilling prospects on large offshore blocks.
In October 2009, Bengal was provisionally awarded a 100% working interest in 340,000 offshore acres at CY-OSN 2009/1 in India's Cauvery Basin. Companies operating within 50 kilometers of the acquired block have committed more than $200 million of exploration expenditures over the next four years. Bengal has already identified a 7,500 acre prospect on the block having similarities with a large established light-oil producing pool in the Cauvery offshore. Exploration is anticipated to begin following formal signing of a Production Sharing Contract ("PSC") with the Government of India in the first quarter of 2010.
Bengal's exploration work on its onshore India CY-ONN-2005/1 block is expected to commence upon granting of a Petroleum Exploration License ("PEL") from the provincial government early in 2010. Bengal has a 30% working interest in this 236,000 acre block. A 3D seismic shoot is planned for the second half of 2010 with drilling to follow in 2011. There is a producing oilfield within five kilometers of the block. Bengal is partnered with two of India's National Oil Companies on the block.
In the Timor Sea offshore Australia, the Company has a 100% working interest in 861,000 acres on the AC/P 47 Permit. Bengal has begun 2D seismic reprocessing on this block. The Company has identified a robust series of prospects from seismic data, the first of which has been given a Prospective Resource Assessment of 736 MM bbls (unrisked mean recoverable oil) by an independent technical engineering evaluator (see http://www.bengalenergy.ca/ for details). Bengal plans to acquire 750 sq km of 3D seismic in year two of the permit beginning in April 2010. Bengal is currently in discussions to farmout the drilling of a well in order to leverage the expertise of an experienced offshore driller, minimize risk capital, and accelerate the testing of one of the structures.
Most recently, Bengal signed an agreement to acquire a 100% working interest in exploration block Authority to Prospect ("ATP") 732P. ATP 732P has a 12 year term and consists of 654,000 gross acres near producing oil and gas fields in Australia's Cooper Basin. The Company has identified two large Permian subcrop gas plays offsetting a producing gas field. The block holds light oil potential demonstrated by Hutton, Murta and Birkhead zones in offsetting producing fields.
Initial production is expected shortly at the Cuisinier oil discovery in Australia's Barta block at ATP 752P. Production facilities have been installed and a production license has been granted. Production is expected before month end after the execution of marketing and transportation contracts. Processing of the 103 sq km Cuisinier 3D seismic survey is complete and initial interpretations have identified additional exploration and exploitation opportunities for dual objective Hutton/Birkhead and Murta targets. A development plan will be formulated by the joint venture partners in April 2010.
Bengal holds a 10% interest in the offshore Timor Sea Permit AC/P 24, which the Company earned through the drilling of the Katandra-1 oil discovery well in December 2004. Following a merged rework of existing seismic data a new well test is anticipated in the fall of 2010.
Bengal has diligently and prudently expanded its land and prospect base in the past 18 months whereby it has nearly quadrupled the Company's net undeveloped acreage position to more than 2.3 million net acres. Bengal has significantly expanded its project inventory to a number of high impact, world class opportunities through extensive geosciences and engineering evaluations. The Company's highly dedicated team of professionals has been successful in four separate international bid rounds in three established producing basins. The company has a 60% average working interest and operates 69% of its highly prospective land base. Plans are underway to continue to expand this growth.
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