Anadarko Is Confident Will Find Oil in Qatar Blocks

Anadarko Petroleum is confident it will find oil in exploration blocks being drilled in the tiny Persian Gulf state.

"We're optimistic there's a potential for drilling," Norman Benson, general manager of Anadarko Qatar Energy Co. told Dow Jones Newswires in a recent interview, referring to offshore block 13, where the company has already completed a 3D survey.

The company has spent around $30 million in exploration work in Qatar's northern offshore blocks 11, 12 and 13 and plans to keep exploring for another five years.

"In block 11 we did 3D seismic last year and that's being interpreted and then we'll decide whether we're going to drill or do additional seismic," he said.

"We weren't successful in exploration in block 12 and right now we don't see additional exploration there," Benson said.

The company has already spent $175 million in developing block 12 where production is at 17,000 barrels a day.

Benson said block 12, also known as al-Rayyan oilfield, has around 100 million barrels of recoverable reserves, of which 41 million bbl have been already produced.

"We are now doing a study on al-Rayyan field and depending on the outcome, we might drill additional wells to increase production," he said.

Benson said the company has allocated $1.5 million as an exploration budget until the end of this year for block 4 which it acquired under a production sharing agreement with the Qatari government in May and is the group's main focus.

Anadarko acquired its position in gas-rich Qatar, when it bought assets from Gulf Stream Resources in 2001.

In 2002, the company bought BP interests in blocks 12 and 13, increasing its stake to 92.5% from 65% in the blocks and became operator. Anadarko also holds a 49% interest in block 11, operated by Germany's Wintershall AG.