Hess To Bring Rio Muni Fields Onstream by Early 2004

Amerada Hess hopes to get its Equatorial Guinea discoveries in production by year end 2003 or early 2004, says a company spokesman. The spokesman said Hess aims to put up a development plan for the six oilfields discovered in the Rio Muni Basin to the Equatorial Guinea government in the third quarter of this year. Conservatively, the company estimates these fields to hold recoverable reserves of 500 million barrels. "We have not yet put up a plan but aim to submit a development plan to the government this quarter," company spokesman Carl Tursi said. "We are looking to produce by late 2003 or early 20004."

The company is one of three leading oil producers in the West African state whose output has risen exponentially over the past few years to hit 200,000 barrels per day. Output will rise to over 350,000 bpd in 2005 once ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil Corp and Amerada Hess complete their new projects which are in various stages of development. Hess, the second largest producer, currently produces around 55,000 bpd from the Ceiba field which will rise to 90,000 bpd in the fourth quarter.

Tursi said the company's development of the fields in Block G and F would be phased but added that it was too early to comment on the exact shape of the project. Industry sources expect the project to mirror production from the Ceiba field and to be carried out through a 160,000 bpd floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) facility.

The Hess discoveries so far are in Block G with one field straddling both Block G and F. The fields are called Okume, Oveng, Ebano, Akom, Elon and Abang. The last discovery, Abang, was made last month. The G-10 well encountered 170 feet of net pay, 157 feet of oil and 13 feet of gas, and was drilled to a total depth of 6,027 feet in approximately 323 feet of water, the company said at that time. Tursi said Hess had just spudded a well in Block F but was unable to comment on its findings just yet.