Unocal Makes Gas Discovery with Harvest Deep Shelf Well

Unocal told analysts at the Howard Weil 2003 Energy Conference here that the Harvest deep shelf exploration well (OCS-G 21532) on West Cameron block 44 in the Gulf of Mexico discovered natural gas that could be developed into commercial production.

Timothy H. Ling, Unocal president and chief operating officer, said the well was now being sidetracked to determine the extent of the reservoir and ultimate recoverable natural gas volumes.

"We plan to develop the well with a mobile offshore production unit, so we have the opportunity to bring production on line quickly at lower cost," Ling said. "The possible development timetable and expected production level will be determined after we have completed the sidetrack."

Later this year, the company expects to drill a delineation well to the northeast of the discovery well location. Additional appraisal wells may be drilled.

Unocal is operator of West Cameron block 44 and holds a 41-percent working interest. Co-venturers are Duke Energy Hydrocarbons, a wholly owned subsidiary of Duke Energy, which has a 37-percent working interest; The William G. Helis Company, LLC, with a 20-percent interest; and Houston Energy, LP, which holds the remaining 2 percent.

Ling also told analysts that the Deer Island exploration well (CL&F 25 No. 1) onshore in Terrebonne Parish, La., had encountered potentially commercial natural gas resources in the shallow zones, but the deeper objective was not productive. Unocal is operator of the well and holds a 50-percent working interest. Forest Oil Corporation holds the remaining interest. The companies are evaluating options to commercialize the shallow zone resource.

Ling noted that the company is currently producing more than 40 million cubic feet net of gas per day from its two late-2002 deep shelf discoveries, Jalapeno and Rio Grande. The addition of Harvest production would put the company well on its way to meeting or exceeding projections for production from the deep shelf program for the year, with the majority of the scheduled 2003 prospects yet to be drilled.