Egypt teams find opportunities amid western desert challenges

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Explore Newsletter: November 2012
12/5/2012

Performance on new concessions confirms Apache as
No. 1 oil producer in Egypt

When first looking over the Western Desert concessions acquired from BP in 2010, members of the Apache Egypt Region and the joint venture Khalda Petroleum Co. (KPC) teams saw many challenges – pipeline integrity issues, inadequate water floods, limited production capacity, and vintage seismic data. But in these challenges they also saw opportunities.

Khalda’s Exploration teams quickly identified the need to acquire modern 3-D seismic – the key to Apache’s success across the Western Desert, said KPC Exploration Manager Martin Oldani. “BP and Gupco (another joint venture) had initiated a survey in the WD-33 concession – the Abu Gharadig field. Apache was able to improve the seismic design template in the WD-30 and WD-09 surveys that followed.”

“KPC explorationists are using these datasets to generate prospects,” said geophysicist Peter Sackmann.

KPC has drilled five new field discoveries – Spyglass, Riviera, Meghar, Shadow and Hawk – and one field extension – the AG-88X – which extends the South Abu Gharadig Field to the southwest. “That’s a 100-percent success rate in WD-30,” said Dan Helgeson, KPC geologist.

The first deep well based on new seismic to test Alem El Buieb, Jurassic and Paleozoic objectives is currently being drilled in WD-33.

Apache also designed a new seismic survey covering all of the Razzak Concession, including acreage across a significant steep slope in the south side of the concession. In total, 750 square miles (1,945 square kilometers) of new data was acquired in the three surveys.

Three exploration wells in the Razzak Concession resulted in one new discovery – MRZK-78X – and one field extension – MRZK-75X.

“We have yet to really put the new seismic data to work,” Helgeson said. “So far, we’ve been picking from the low-hanging fruit.”

“The Development, Exploration, Reservoir and Drilling guys also did a great job identifying new prospects, exploiting existing assets, and implementing pattern drilling in the water floods,” said Grady Ables, Operations manager for KPC. “Sam Hampton (KPC Drilling manager) picked up additional rigs, built a pipe yard, and moved a member of his team into the fields permanently.

Since completing the BP acquisition in November 2010, Apache has drilled 46 development wells, increasing oil and condensate production 57 percent to 31,500 barrels of oil per day, and hiking sales gas production 163 percent to 95 million cubic feet per day, said Tim Brady, a KPC Development geologist. Apache achieved record oil production of 33,609 barrels per day in early 2012.

“The field personnel had flowlines installed before rigs left locations so wells can be tested to sales and turned on immediately.”

KPC plans to drill 41 additional development wells in 2012 at both the Abu Gharadig and South Abu Gharadig fields.

“We also implemented a large-scale water flood project in the Razzak Field, drilling 11 water injectors since the acquisition, said Chris Weatherl, KPC reservoir engineer. “Total water injection as a method to sustain oil production and increase ultimate recovery is at an all-time high at Razzak at more than 6,000 barrels of water per day; we expect injection to exceed 10,000 barrels per day by the end of 2012.”

Apache is now Egypt’s largest oil producer, responsible for one-third of the nation’s output. Performance on the recently acquired concessions confirmed Apache’s reputation as Egypt’s most active operation and demonstrated the company’s ability to grow production in previously stagnant properties.

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