El Paso Expects Exploratory Well Assessment in Q3

US energy company El Paso (NYSE: EP) expects an assessment of three exploratory wells being drilled in Brazil to be ready early next quarter, El Paso E&P president Brent Smolik said in a webcast.

El Paso in February spudded wells Acai and Cacau in its Pinauna project, which has "significant reserve potential," Smolik said.

These two wells could add another 100-130Mb to Pinauna's proved reserves, which reached 12Mb at end-2006, he said.

Although El Paso has a 100% working interest in these two wells, the company may reduce its interest - pending assessment results - as a "prudent approach to managing its E&P portfolio," the executive said.

Brazil's Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) operates the other well, dubbed the Bia prospect, which Petrobras estimates is a 280Mb structure that straddles El Paso's block boundaries, he said.

El Paso has a 35% working interest in this well.

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