Wintershall to Drill 2nd Santos Well in April

German oil company Wintershall plans to drill in April a second well in the BM-S-14 block in Brazil's Santos basin, which will take up most of the company's US$10mn 2005 budget for the country, the company's Brazil exploration manager Thomas Wabra told BNamericas.

The first well on the block, in which federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) has a 30% interest, was drilled in March 2004, yielding oil and gas shows. "What we found is too small to be economically feasible, we have to continue appraisals," Wabra said.

Although the first well was drilled in shallow waters 235 meters deep, the well itself went as deep as 4,800 meters. The drilling plans could confirm the company's interest in Brazil, since further expansion in the country will depend on the success of the second well, Wabra said.

The company plans to draw up a plan for Brazil's seventh hydrocarbon licensing round scheduled for October. "We are not going to leave Brazil yet," he said.

Wintershall entered Brazil in the third hydrocarbon licensing tender in 2001 when it acquired 100% ownership in three blocks: the BM-ES-7 in the Espírito Santo Basin, the BM-C-19 in the Campos basin and the BM-S-14 in the Santos basin.

Wintershall covered the areas with 3D seismic studies, but drilled only one well, the 1WINT1SPS well in the BM-S-14 block. The BM-ES-7 and BM-C-19 blocks were handed back to the national hydrocarbon regulator ANP. The company carried on to develop its non-operating interests in other blocks such as a 35% stake in the BM-C-10 block in the Campos basin, operated by Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell with 65%. It also has a 25% stake the BM-ES-1, which is operated by US oil company ExxonMobil. Wintershall has invested over US$100mn in Brazil so far.

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