Danny McNease, Rowan's President and Chief Executive Officer, commenting from Houston, said, "We are very pleased to commence the tow-out to 'Mariner'. For this rig move the tow vessels are Karlsen Shipping's Bourbon Castle and Secunda Marine's Ryan Leet and Hebron Sea. The rig mobilization, in the Port of Mulgrave, Strait of Canso, Nova Scotia has gone as planned; safe and efficient. We are looking forward to a safe arrival at site, with drilling commencing very shortly."
The initial well location of the Canadian Superior El Paso "Mariner" I-85 well is approximately 290 kilometers (180 miles) southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Canadian Superior's and El Paso's "Mariner" Project is located north of the eastern tip of Sable Island on the Scotian Shelf. The first "Mariner" well to be drilled is located only about 9 kilometers northwest of Sable Offshore Energy Project's Venture natural gas producing field. This well will be one of the deepest offshore wells drilled in Canada over the next several months and is located on Exploration License EL 2409, acquired by Canadian Superior in November 2001 for a work expenditure bid of Cdn. $15.5 million.
In Calgary, when contacted at Canadian Superior's Head Office, Greg Noval, President of Canadian Superior, said, "The Canadian Superior and El Paso integrated drilling team, with strong support from Rowan, the drilling contractor, and the local vendor community has done a terrific job preparing for the upcoming well. We are very pleased to have commenced the tow-out to 'Mariner' and look forward to a very safe and successful well."
Three large "world-class" prospects, with potential reserves of 2.5 tcf of natural gas, have been identified for drilling on the "Mariner" block (EL 2409) utilizing high-resolution seismic. The block encompasses a total area of 101,800 acres and directly offsets five significant discoveries near Sable Island including the 1.6 tcf Venture natural gas field. The "Mariner" well will be a High Temperature High Pressure (HTHP) well, drilled to a total depth of approximately 18,370 feet (5,600 meters), utilizing the latest in drilling technology and will evaluate one of three large natural gas structures identified for drilling on the "Mariner" block, initially targeting 1.2 tcf of natural gas reserves identified on the first structure to be drilled.
Commenting in Halifax, Mike Coolen, Canadian Superior's Director of East Coast Operations, said, "The 'Mariner' I-85 well is the first well in a multi-well drilling program planned for the 'Mariner' Block and for Canadian Superior's recently acquired nearby 'Marauder' Block. We are very pleased to have reached this important stage in the 'Mariner' Program and we expect to start drilling the 'Mariner' I-85 well with the Rowan Gorilla V within the next few days."
The "Mariner" I-85 well will take about 90 days to drill at a budgeted cost of U.S. $30 million. Testing and evaluation time will be determined based on the detailed formations encountered in the well. The primary objective of the well is a series of deltaic sediments of the Upper and Middle Mic Mac formations producing in the area; and the secondary objective is a series of deltaic sands of the Lower Mississauga and lowermost Middle Mic Mac formations, also producing in the area.
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