Manas Petroleum reported that its 90% owned subsidiary CJSC Somon Oil has already commenced a 250 KM 2D seismic program in Tajikistan.
This seismic is to further define and analyze the extension of the Tuzluk structural trend (prospects delineated in the Kyrgyz Tuzluk license) and mature a number of Tajik prospects to drill-ready status on this trend in the Manas Western license area in Tajikistan. Somon has identified 7 large under-thrust prospects that are located close to existing oil fields and which were originally identified by soviet seismic and by a previous 123 KM 2D seismic acquired by Somon during December 2007 and June 2008. Manas believes that the potential size of the Tajik resources is similar to that of the Manas Kyrgyz license area.
Once these seismic results are processed, interpreted and integrated with the pre-existing data, which is expected during May 2010, these prospects will be considered as candidates for a 2011 deep well drilling program.
The contract for the 2D seismic program has been awarded to the large Kazakh based geophysical firm DANK Scientific Industrial. Dank is utilizing a 2D/3D compatible vibrator crew for the work.
Somon has established an office in Khudjand, the northern capital of Tajikistan, in order to technically supervise the program and to provide on-going local support for the licensing. The Somon Khudjant office has hired a team of qualified geophysicists and permitting experts for the acquisition process.
The total costs of the program are expected to be approximately US $3 million; these costs are funded by Santos International Ventures Pty Ltd. as part of the option farm out agreement. As previously announced, in December 2007 Manas entered into an option farm out agreement with Santos for the Tajik licenses. Should Santos exercise their option to farm-in, they will fund a phased US $74 million seismic, exploration and appraisal drilling program, with Manas retaining a 20% carried interest. Santos may withdraw from the program after drilling four exploration wells (end of Phase 2 and US $51 million expenditure).
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