Many Countries Ready to 'Do a Deal'

Denver IP Indicates Interest

The international arena continues to beckon explorers to seek the resources the world needs.

And, the 39 exhibitors at the AAPG annual meeting in Denver found a receptive audience, especially with healthy prices and improving contact regimes in many areas.

The African continent was particularly inviting, with 12 countries offering exploration licenses wooing the geologists in Denver. Delegations represented the countries of Cote d'Ivoire, Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.

South America was also well represented in presenting their offerings, including Brazil, Colombia, Falkland Islands, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago.

The International Pavilion offered a smorgasbord of opportunities, some of which were not quite ready for "prime time," waiting on one thing or another -- mainly having something to do with pending legislation in their countries.

But for certain, the will was there. And when willing buyers and sellers get together, deals are sure to be made.

And, many deals are anticipated over the last half of 2001.

Africa

The following summary regarding available acreage is a brief excerpt from the International Acreage Inventory, a quarterly supplement published in IHS Energy Group's International Oil Letter.

Algeria -- A number of blocks in five basins are being offered in a Second Licensing Round, with a September 30 bid closing.

Also, bids on five development projects in the Illizi Basin are being considered by the Ministry and Sonatrach, with a deadline for the final offer of March 2002.

Angola -- Three ultra-deep water areas have been tentatively nominated for licensing, with a portion of the acreage availability subject to the settlement of a maritime border dispute with the Republic of Congo.

Image Caption

Triton Energy's BUMI-1 well rig in the Gulf of Thailand -- once this was just acreage awaiting development, today it's a prized play. Photo courtesy of Triton Energy

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The international arena continues to beckon explorers to seek the resources the world needs.

And, the 39 exhibitors at the AAPG annual meeting in Denver found a receptive audience, especially with healthy prices and improving contact regimes in many areas.

The African continent was particularly inviting, with 12 countries offering exploration licenses wooing the geologists in Denver. Delegations represented the countries of Cote d'Ivoire, Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.

South America was also well represented in presenting their offerings, including Brazil, Colombia, Falkland Islands, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago.

The International Pavilion offered a smorgasbord of opportunities, some of which were not quite ready for "prime time," waiting on one thing or another -- mainly having something to do with pending legislation in their countries.

But for certain, the will was there. And when willing buyers and sellers get together, deals are sure to be made.

And, many deals are anticipated over the last half of 2001.

Africa

The following summary regarding available acreage is a brief excerpt from the International Acreage Inventory, a quarterly supplement published in IHS Energy Group's International Oil Letter.

Algeria -- A number of blocks in five basins are being offered in a Second Licensing Round, with a September 30 bid closing.

Also, bids on five development projects in the Illizi Basin are being considered by the Ministry and Sonatrach, with a deadline for the final offer of March 2002.

Angola -- Three ultra-deep water areas have been tentatively nominated for licensing, with a portion of the acreage availability subject to the settlement of a maritime border dispute with the Republic of Congo.

Cameroon -- Exploration and production tracts in the onshore Douala Basin and the onshore/transitional Rio del Rey Basin are available.

Egypt -- Thirty-two blocks, 13 onshore and 17 offshore, are being offered. Areas included are the deep Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf of Suez, Nile Delta, Western Desert and Upper Egypt.

Also, AAPG has announced that an International conference and exhibition will be held in Cairo on Oct. 27-30, 2002.

Tanzania -- Seven new blocks, with six in deep water, are being offered, along with five blocks that received no bids in the first round. Total acreage available is over 113,000 square kilometers.

Eurasia

Kyrgystan -- Six blocks remain available for direct negotiation. The blocks contain over 75 percent of the country's resources.

Russia -- Observers say complaints by some of the larger Russian companies on the outcome of recent acreage tenders has resulted in the delay off the Tenth Bidding Round until Aug. 31. By decree, companies cannot renew or relinquish acreage, and all licensing activity with both domestic and foreign companies is on hold.

Turkmenistan -- Thirty-two Caspian Sea blocks are on offer, with 18 blocks lying in disputed areas with Azerbaijan or Iran.

Uzbekistan -- Direct negotiations are invited for 16 exploration, production and infrastructure projects in all five petroleum-rich provinces of the country.

Europe

Denmark -- The Open Door Policy application period, which allows applications for any unlicensed acreage in areas east of 6 ° 15' East, is open through Sept. 2.

Ireland -- In hopes of a licensing initiative later this year, the ministry has invited industry views on a range of issues, including areas of interest, perception of prospectivity and the types of commitments in which the industry would be interested.

Norway -- An offering is expected in the last part of the year, with companies invited to nominate blocks.

Poland -- A bid round slated for later this year is expected to include 29 onshore parcels.

United Kingdom -- An offshore licensing round to include mature areas and North Sea acreage is expected in late 2001-early 2002.

Latin America

Brazil -- ANP Round 3 includes 53 total blocks in 12 different basins -- twice the number compared with the two previous bid rounds. Blocks include 10 onshore, 12 shallow water and 31 deep or ultra-deep blocks.

Colombia -- Blocks in the unallocated acreage of the Caribbean Sea are being offered under a 70/30 term for a maximum of 40 years. Ecopetrol said bids will be judged on work programs proposed over the first three-year period.

The IHS International Newsletter also reported the open areas are made up essentially of the former LaGragata and Los Galeones contract areas (Burlington Resources) and the 25 percent relinquishment by Texaco of its Macuira and Nazareth association contract areas.

Ecuador -- With 45 companies registering a year ago to participate in the Joint Venture Field International Bid Round, the government has still not been able to agree on a contract regime to develop the country's five largest fields.

Meanwhile, a seven-company consortium received approval to build a 503-kilometer oil pipeline from the Amazon to the Pacific.

Guatemala -- Eleven bocks are to be offered this year. All blocks are in the North and South Peten Basins.

Peru -- Four offshore blocks are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, with a private round planned if two or more companies express an interest in the same tract. The blocks are offshore extensions of the Talara, Sechura and South Lanacones basins of northwest Peru.

Also available are 13 onshore tracts.

Middle East

Iran -- Reports indicate that 16 fields, including eight previously offered to international oil companies under buy-back terms that received no bids, will be developed by the National Iranian Oil Company.

NIOC reportedly will provide investment capital and be in control of attracting subcontractors.

Iraq -- The country has been promoting major field development projects throughout the country long before the lifting of the oil sales moratorium in mid-July. Nine exploration blocks are being offered, covering 112,700 square kilometers in the Western Desert along the Saudi border.

Development projects are being tied to exploration blocks to encourage bidders.

Meanwhile, Syrian Petroleum Corp. reportedly has been granted development rights to the 50,000 barrel-a-day Al-Nur Field and the Akkaz Field in southeast Iraq.

Lebanon -- An offshore bid round is reportedly being prepared.

Qatar -- A block that abuts the Bahrain border in northernmost waters has been split, with the portion on the coast of Qatar to be up for bid later this year.

Pacific Rim

Australia -- Blocks in four offshore basins are being offered in a two-phase offering, with phase one bids due Oct. 11.

Brunei -- Onshore and offshore exploration acreage is open for bids through November, including two previously unexplored and unlicensed blocks in water depths of 1,000-2,8000 meters in the Exclusive Economic Zone.

China -- Thirty-eight blocks are being considered for licensing by CCAD of PetroChina. The blocks awaiting the final government green light are all onshore.

Additionally, PetroChina is offering the development of an additional six gas fields in the Tarim Basin, which will involve the construction of the Tarim-Shanghai gas line.

India -- The ministry is planning to launch a third New Exploration Licensing Policy licensing round in the last quarter of 2001, with plans to move the country toward an open acreage system in 2003.

Meanwhile, awards are expected at year's end on seven blocks offered for coalbed methane projects.

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