Shell To Drill 2nd Well at Bonga Southwest

Shell expects to drill a second appraisal well offshore Nigeria in the Bonga Southwest field this year during the third quarter. An initial appraisal well drilled in the first quarter revealed a 1-billion- barrel oil-bearing reservoir, which Shell considers to be the world's biggest oil find in at least the past 12 months. "It's a major find for us," said Shell spokeswoman Kate Hill.

Shell, through its wholly-owned Nigerian offshore subsidiary Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production Co ., or Snepco, owns 55% of the field, along with partners ExxonMobil Corp. with 20%, TotalFinaElf SA with 12.5% and Agip SpA with the remaining 12.5%.

The consortium has a 30-year production-sharing agreement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. Hill couldn't say when the site would be developed if a second appraisal well confirmed the initial findings of a mammoth-sized reservoir. The field is located in 1,245 meters of water at a final depth of 4,160 meters. Bonga SW, which was discovered in 2001, is located approximately 10 kilometers southwest of Bonga, Snepco's first discovery in the OML 118 deepwater license. Shell expects the Bonga field to produce its first oil by the end of 2003.