TGS NOPEC to Perform Exploration Study Offshore Malta

TGS-NOPEC has entered into an agreement with the Maltese Government to acquire an Exploration Study Area over the Medina Bank with the aim to conduct a study. This proposal has been prepared for oil companies who want to evaluate the Medina Banks petroleum potential and then, dependent on evaluation, take an exploration license.

The Study Area covers almost 19,000 square kilometers and has previously little exploration carried out. The specific area has only one well, MB-1, which was spudded in 1980 by Texaco, but never reached the Cretaceous objectives.

The Study Area is covering the Medina Bank, offshore eastern Malta. The Bouri field is located some 220 kilometers southwest from the Medina Bank and produces oil and gas from the Nummulitic Lower Eocene. Its total recoverable reserves are estimated as 3,700 million barrels of oil and 1.9 TCF of gas. There is an excellent market for gas in Malta and the trans-Mediterranean gas pipeline system from Libya to Sicily would allow exports to Europe.

Exploration Targets: The Lower Eocene and Cretaceous carbonates are recognized to be the major hydrocarbon producing plays, extending from offshore Libya to Tunisia. The regional stratigraphies suggest the presence of reservoir quality Lower Eocene carbonate in the Medina Bank. This area, surrounded by relevant oil and gas fields, contains multiple structural prospects and large stratigraphic leads. The area has an existing grid of excellent quality seismic data, well-developed infrastructure and a ready gas market. Future drilling and 3D seismic operations are easily accessible.

Prospects/Leads: There are several Lower Eocene and Mid-Lower Cretaceous leads, seismically defined with large closures.

Source rocks: The presence of Cretaceous and Lower Eocene (Bou Dabbous - Bilal) source rocks as in the Gabes-Tripoli Basin is inferred.

Target Depths: 2,000 - 5,000 meters.

Discoveries/Shows: The Study Area contains the MB-1 well, which never reached the Cretaceous formations. It was drilled in 1980 to a depth of 1,225 meters in the Lower Eocene, encountering gas shows before being abandoned due to a boundary dispute, solved in 1986. The MB-1 well was drilled on the flank of an anticline. Shows were encountered in porous, fractured carbonate and the well was abandoned prior to reaching the primary objective, the Middle-Lower Cretaceous Argub and Turghat Fm at approximately 4,400 meters. The oil and gas fields of Bouri in Libya and Miskar, Asdrubal, Ashtart in Tunisia, are all producing from Lower Eocene carbonates.

Reserves potential: In the Exploration Study Area, TGS-NOPEC has identified several prospects with potential reserves over 1,300 MMBbls in water depth ranging between 80 and 350 m.

Closing Date: Open.

The Study Area time period is set for one year and can be extended for other three years, according to agreement signed with the Maltese Government. The work program will comprise the petroleum potential evaluation based on a seismic data package of 3,947 kilometers of modern data and five wells.

Medina Bank represents the logical extension of the Eocene playtypes in Tunisia and Libya. TGS-NOPEC, over the last two years has acquired and processed modern seismic data to assist oil companies in their exploration evaluation.