Cooper Confirms 200MM Barrels of Oil in Place Offshore Tunisia

Following conclusion of the conceptual field development plan for the Hammamet West oil field in the Gulf of Hammamet, Tunisia, Cooper Energy is pleased to announce:

Field estimated to contain over 200 million barrels oil in place (P50).

  • Contingent resources of 49 million barrels of oil (P50).
  • Plans are underway to acquire 175 km2 of 3D seismic to enhance the structural and reservoir definition.
  • Horizontal appraisal well required to test Abiod carbonate productivity.

The Hammamet West Oil Field was discovered in 1967 by the Hammamet West-1 exploration well, which discovered 7 meters of oil on rock in the Birsa sandstone formation. In 1990 the Hammamet West-2 appraisal well discovered a further 192 meters of oil in the deeper Abiod carbonate formation. The Abiod was production tested and 33° API oil was recovered but the reservoir was deemed to be tight. A review of the well test has indicated that the Abiod was tested by cementing in the production casing, which is not considered to be prudent production practice for a reservoir that depends on natural fractures for productivity. Evaluation of the Hammamet West-2 core and image logs demonstrate that natural fractures do exist in the Abiod and a well drilled with the appropriate drilling technology may produce at economic rates.

Hammamet West Oil Field

The Hammamet West Oil Field lies wholly within the Bargou Exploration Permit, Gulf of Hammamet, Tunisia, which Cooper Energy was awarded in 2005. Cooper Energy is the 100% owner and operator of the permit.

At the Hammamet West location the water depth is approximately 50-60 meters and it is expected that 10-15 million barrels of recoverable oil will be the minimum field size that can be economically developed.

Worley Parsons was contracted to assist Cooper Energy to screen the development options for the field. At this time it is expected that the field would be developed using a small not normally manned platform, which would export oil and gas to an onshore plant via a multi-phase pipeline. The onshore plant would export gas to the local market and oil via an offshore loading buoy. Development costs would be in the order of US$250-US$430 million (100% Joint Venture), depending on the size of the development.

This development plan is conceptually similar to that employed by ENI who are currently developing the Maamoura field (10km south of Hammamet West), which also produces oil from the Abiod formation.

To efficiently and effectively appraise the discovered oil field, new 3D seismic data is required. The new data is required because the field currently has limited 2D seismic coverage and the majority of the existing seismic lines are poor quality paper sections. New high resolution 3D seismic is expected to enable Cooper Energy to define the internal reservoir architecture (areas of good reservoir quality and natural fracture occurrence), to tighten up the field structural understanding and to accurately locate a Hammamet West-3 appraisal well.

To pursue these evaluation goals and following conclusion of a competitive tender process, Cooper Energy expects in the very near future to award a contract for a 175 km2 high resolution 3D seismic survey to CGGVeritas. The seismic acquisition and processing is expected to cost approximately US $1.8 million and acquired in December 2009. It is expected that following the acquisition, processing and interpretation of the new high resolution 3D seismic, a Hammamet West-3 appraisal well will be proposed. The well has four objectives:

  • Delineate the Hammamet West structure updip from the HW-1 and HW-2 wells.
  • Delineate the Birsa Formation to better understand the range of the oil in place volumes.
  • Delineate the Abiod Formation to better understand the range of the oil in place volumes.
  • Demonstrate the productivity of the Abiod Formation by undertaking an open-hole production test in a horizontal well.

A Hammamet West-3 well and test has been designed by IPSAA drilling consultants in Perth and is expected to cost around US $20-30 million, depending upon the rig rate prevailing at the time. The shallow 50-60 meters water depth at this location means that a relatively low cost jackup drilling rig can be used.


Mr. Michael Scott, Managing Director of Cooper Energy, said, "We are very pleased that our on-going geoscience work on the Bargou Exploration Permit has resulted in the identification of a large discovered oil volume. The key now will be to appraise this oil volume in a timely and considered manner. The critical factor in our appraisal work will be to prove that the Abiod formation can produce oil at commercial rates. Should the appraisal work be successful then we could be sitting on a substantial hydrocarbon resource."