Bloomberg News

Maersk Oil May Release Results of Angola Well Within a Month

December 09, 2011

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Maersk Oil, Scandinavia’s second- largest producer, will release the results of the first so- called pre-salt well drilled in the Kwanza Basin off Angola within a month, the company’s chief executive officer said.

“We are still evaluating the results,” Jakob Thomasen said in an interview in Doha, Qatar today.

The company plans to drill wells in two more of its offshore Angolan blocks next year, he said. Drilling pre-salt wells is technically challenging because the deposits lie below a layer of salt two kilometers thick.

Maersk is evaluating the results of a pre-salt well drilled off Brazil in a block operated by BP Plc and the company expects another well to be drilled next year off Brazil in the Anadarko Petroleum Corp.-operated Wahoo field, he said.

Energy companies are seeking to extract oil and gas from increasingly difficult locations and from substances such as hard to break rock as opportunities to tap conventional energy resources dwindle and world demand increases.

“We have a lot of experience in tight oil,” Thomasen said. “The neighborhood we are brought up in, that’s tight oil.”

The company plans to drill as many as 200 wells in the Dunga Field in Kazakhstan, “an extremely challenging reservoir” akin to extracting oil from shale rock, Thomasen said. Maersk may also drill in three or four years in the icy waters off Greenland.

Exploration Investment

Maersk’s production output of 350,000 barrrels a day will fall for a “couple of years” before rising to 400,000 barrels as the company expands output in the U.K., Kazakhstan, Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico, Thomasen said. The decline will occur because the company didn’t invest enough in the past to keep production levels even, he said. Maersk plans to invest about $1 billion a year in exploration, he said.

The company in June agreed to invest $1 billion in the U.K. North Sea’s Golden Eagle field, which has an estimated 150 million barrels of resources. Last year, Copenhagen-based Maersk Oil bought SK Energy Co.’s Brazilian oil unit for $2.4 billion and a 25 percent stake in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Jack field for $300 million from Devon Energy Corp.

The company is discussing with state-run Qatar Petroleum further development of the Al-Shaheen field after completing a 2005 development plan, Thomasen said. Qatar, the company’s biggest single source of production, produced about 154,000 barrels a day, the CEO said in October.

“We believe there are a lot of opportunities for a company like ours,” Thomasen said today. “We are in the really good street addresses of the world.”

--Editors: Will Kennedy, Alex Devine

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Tuttle in Doha at rtuttle@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net


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