Conoco Seeks Fast Track Development for Vanguard Extensions

Conoco will seek government consent for the fast track development of its recent natural gas discovery in block 49/16, some 80 miles east of the coast of Lincolnshire, England.

The discovery, in what is known as the Vanguard Extensions (VE) prospect, is another success for Conoco's policy of snuggle exploration and development -- the pursuit of gas and oil prospects with close proximity to existing processing and transportation facilities, making them commercially attractive and capable of rapid development.

"This is yet more evidence that the snuggle concept works for Conoco, our partners and the country," said John Williams, Conoco's general manager for exploration in the company's British exploration and production affiliate. "The VE discovery is our seventh successful snuggle exploration and appraisal well in the U.K. since the beginning of 1998. It's an important addition to our existing interests in Britain, where we are a significant gas operator, and in Continental Europe, which is a growing market."

Discovery well 49/16-13 was drilled in 109 feet of water by the Ensco 92 jack-up drilling rig during the summer of 2001. The well was drilled to a depth of 9,456 feet, and encountered a gross Rotliegendes sandstone section of 700 feet, of which 242 feet was gas bearing.

Conoco anticipates aggressive development of the VE discovery, leading to first gas production in the third or fourth quarter of 2002. In the meantime, additional drilling is planned to delineate the discovery and determine its size.

Development options for the VE discovery are being evaluated, but it will be produced through the Lincolnshire Offshore Gas Gathering System (LOGGS), which carries natural gas to the Conoco-operated terminal at Theddlethorpe St. Helen in Lincolnshire, England.

Co-venturers in the development are Conoco (U.K.) Limited (operator), 50 percent and BP, 50 percent.