Thursday, July 28, 2011

Husky Seeks JV Partner for Accelerated Development of its Ansell, Liquids Rich, Gas Assets

Husky’s chief executive, Amit Ghosh, said in its 2nd quarter conference call, that the company is seeking a joint-venture partner to accelerate development of an emerging liquids-rich natural gas play in western Alberta.

Husky has created a preliminary development plan which could potentially see up to 2,600 Cardium and deeper Manville formation wells drilled in its Ansell assets, most of which would be horizontal. In the first two quarters of 2011, Husky drilled 21 Cardium Formation wells at Ansell. A further 12 Cardium and nine deeper multi-zone wells are planned to be drilled in the second half of 2011. The company is currently constructing additional offload capacity on its own, which will increase total production capacity at Ansell to 56 MMcf/d and over 2,000 Bbls/d liquids.

As prices for natural gas continue to remain low, North American natural gas producers have shifted focus towards fields rich in natural gas liquids, which trade at prices close to crude oil, and the Ansell property is one such liquids rich gas field, which could benefit from further development. 

Analyst Comment
Assuming a 50% JV for the undeveloped acreage of 150,000 acres, we value the 50% JV to be between $60 - $80 million. This valuation is based on similar recent deals in the vicinity involving the Cardium Formation acreage where the acreage metric was between $1,200/acre - $1,800/acre. 

Derrick 'Deals in Play'
Derrick has aggregated all publicly announced properties for sale. Derrick’ Deals in Play is the most comprehensive data set of its kind in the industry. This special feature includes every deal ranging from the large packages being brokered through investment banks to the much smaller, non-brokered prospects. For more information click here

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Petrobras to sell $13.6 billion worth of assets in 2011 - 2015

Petrobras, Brazil's largest company, came out with its 2011 -2015 business plan last week. For the first time, Petrobras said in its business plan, it is looking to divest $13.6 billion worth of assets over the 2011 - 2015 period.

Reuters quoted its chief executive, Jose Sergio Gabrielli,  as having said on Monday, that as part of its divestment plan, Petrobras will look at selling stakes in some of its offshore oil blocks. Also, the company would sell stakes in some of its oil exploration and production projects, and partners in those projects would also be allowed to buy stakes. However, sale of its production assets would reportedly not involve its pre-salt  blocks.

Petrobras’ exploration is primarily focused in three major offshore basins in southeastern Brazil: Campos, Espirito Santo and the Santos basins. As of December 31, 2010, the company held exploration rights in 21 blocks comprising 6,374 sq km in the Campos Basin, 19 blocks (16 offshore blocks) comprising 8,086 sq km in the Espirito Santo Basin and 47 blocks comprising 29,302 sq kms in the Santos Basin. Petrobras also produces hydrocarbons and holds exploration acreage in 19 other basins in Brazil. Of these, the most significant are the shallow offshore Camamu basin and the onshore Potiguar, Reconcavo, Sergipe, Alagoas and Solimoes basins. In 2010, the company’s average daily production from its Brazilian assets was 2,165.5 MBOE/d.

Figure 1: Petrobras concession areas, Brazil. Source: Petrobras

Outside Brazil, Petrobras has significant operations in Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Gulf of Mexico, offshore Nigeria, Angola, Portugal, Turkey, Senegal, Libya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Iran, Pakistan and India. In 2010, the company’s average daily production from the International assets was 2,405.4 MBOE/d.

Petrobras is planning to divest $13.6 billion worth of assets over five years, which equates to approximately $2.5 billion worth of assets to be sold every year.

Derrick 'Deals in Play'
Derrick has aggregated all publicly announced properties for sale. Derrick’ Deals in Play is the most comprehensive data set of its kind in the industry. This special feature includes every deal ranging from the large packages being brokered through investment banks to the much smaller, non-brokered prospects. For more information click here

Monday, July 25, 2011

67 Unconventional Assets for Sale as of July 2011

There are many unconventional packages put up for sale, with most in the US or Canada. Given the flurry of unconventional deal activity recently, it wouldn’t be surprising if unconventional deal volumes and values reach record highs this year.

Jack Williams, president of the Irving, Texas-based ExxonMobil's XTO unit, which was acquired by ExxonMobil in June 2010, says that Exxon is looking to expand its shale gas holdings in more than a dozen gas-rich shale-rock formations worldwide. Exxon is also getting active internationally, starting hydraulic fracturing on formations in Poland this year and last week agreeing with China Petrochemical Corp. to jointly assess the resource’s potential in China. Although gas prices have been relatively low, Exxon is reportedly pleased with the returns they’re seeing with production from their unconventional assets, and particularly XTO’s assets.

This announcement by Exxon comes on the back of a series of multi-billion dollar deals involving unconventional (shale) transactions. Last week, BHP Billiton agreed to acquire Petrohawk Energy for $12.1 billion to expand its shale gas holdings in the US. Since June 1, companies including Exxon, Marathon Oil Corp. and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd have announced at least $7 billion worth of North American shale-gas deals.

The following table shows unconventional opportunities for sale recorded in Derrick’s “Deals in Play’ database, part of Derrick’s ‘E&P transactions’ database

Table 1: Unconventional opportunities available in US and Canada as of July 2011. Click on squares to get to the detailed deal sheet. Source: Derrick Petroleum Services. *HRB = Horn River Basin.
There are currently 67 unconventional oil and gas packages for sale in the market. The majority of these packages are located in the USA (46) and most of them are either for unconventional oil (21) or unconventional gas (21). A large number of packages are for investments in undeveloped discoveries (30) and for investments in fields under development (20). Eagle Ford Shale has the most number of opportunities at 12 followed by the Marcellus Shale at 7. Most packages are related to selling undeveloped acreage (36), followed by Joint Venture related opportunities (17)


Thursday, July 21, 2011

E&P Opportunities in Asia in 2011

There are 33 opportunities recorded and analysed in Derrick’s ‘Deals in Play’ database for the 2 previous years till date (July 2011). A sample of these opportunities is shown in the chart below.

Indonesia has the highest number of opportunities at 9 followed by the Philippines at 5, India and Myanmar at 4 each and Vietnam at 3. Pakistan has 2 opportunities and Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Lebanon, Malaysia and Sri Lanka have 1 each.

There is 1 corporate M&A and 18 exploration/ developing undeveloped discoveries opportunities. 1 opportunity is related to producing fields and 3 are related to fields under development. 9 opportunities are for new exploration awards by governments/ NOC’s and 1 opportunity involves a mix of asset types.

Table 1: Sample of E&P Opportunities available in Asia with sellers, country and year of announcement shown. Hover over squares for additional information. Click on squares to go to the deal sheet in the ‘Deals in Play’ database (Pop ups need to be allowed).

Derrick has valued 5 deals where valuation was possible (e.g., asset sales). The sellers here are
a.GeoGlobal Resources
b.Union Fenosa Gas
c.Hycarbex-American Energy
For further information click on the companies above.

For information about Derrick Petroleum Services ‘Deals in Play’ database write to or

Shell opts out of Mackenzie Gas Project in Canada

Shell is looking to divest its interest in the Mackenzie Gas Project which consists of
      a. Development of one of 3 natural gas fields in the Mackenzie Delta region, and its production facilities, that is planned to be tied into the Mackenzie pipeline; Taglu (Imperial Resources Canada 100%), Parsons Lake (ConocoPhillips 75% and ExxonMobil 25%) and Niglintgak (Shell Canada 100%). Approximately 6 Tcf of natural gas has already been discovered in the three fields.
     b. A gathering pipeline system
     c. A gas processing facility near Inuvik (the Inuvik area facility)
     d. A natural gas liquids pipeline from the Inuvik area facility to Norman Wells
     e. A 11.4% stake in the long delayed, 1,196-kilometre natural gas pipeline from the Inuvik area facility to        northwestern Alberta.

The Niglintgak natural gas reservoir is located at the southern end of the Niglintgak Island in the Mackenzie Delta, about 120 km northwest of Inuvik and about 85 km west of Tuktoyaktuk. Niglintgak is held 100% by Shell Canada. The field holds 1 Tcf of gas, and according to regulatory filings, its development would cost C$800 million. Subject to regulatory approval, drilling activities could begin in the winter of 2011. Drilling is expected to take three winters. Based on this schedule, production of natural gas would begin in 2014. The estimated operational life of the Niglintgak field is estimated to be about 25 years.

Derrick values the upstream portion of the deal to be between $300 - $350 million. The 1 Tcf of recoverable reserves is valued at $1.8 - $2 /BOE. This metric is based on a similar deal in the region involving MGM Energy and KOGAS in Dec 2010, where the contingent resources of the Umiak SDL 131 field was valued @ $2/BOE. The gas from the Umiak field is also to be tied up with the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline.

The Mackenzie pipeline has hit many delays and questions are being raised about its economic viability, given the abundance of shale gas that is being developed in North America, high construction costs and low gas prices. However, the chief executive of Imperial Oil, the lead partner in the project, has affirmed that they are still committed to going forward with the pipeline project. It is planned that the pipeline will carry 1.2 bcf of gas daily. Shell says it wants to focus on other opportunities.

Buyers have until August 31 to make their bids.

Shell Canada also recently announced they are looking for a JV partner to develop its Nikanassin Play in its Chinook Asset in Canada’s Deep Basin.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CNOOC to acquire OPTI Canada for $2.1 billion. Nexen gets a healthier and wealthier partner.

CNOOC has agreed to acquire OPTI Canada, for a consideration of approximately US$2.1 billion, subject to regulatory and shareholders approvals. Through this acquisition, CNOOC will own a 35% working interest, with Nexen holding the balance 65% in the four oil sands projects- Long Lake, Kinosis, Leismer, and Cottonwood, located in Alberta.
Source: CNOOC

Acquisition Highlights (OPTI’s interest):

  • 195 million barrels of proved reserves
  • 534 million barrels of probable reserves
  • 1,100 million barrels of contingent resources
  • 335 million barrels of prospective resources
  • ~10,000 bbl/d bitumen production at Long Lake
  • 90,944 net acres owned by OPTI
  • Existing Upgrader built and operating at the Long Lake site
  • Increases CNOOC’s reserves and production by 5.3% and 1%, respectively

Source: CNOOC

Deal Valuation
It is estimated that the value of Contingent Resources for Long Lake and Kinosis projects to be $415.20 million (at $0.60/BOE). The remaining deal value of $1,660.30 million is ascribed to Proved plus Probable Reserves of Long Lake project ($4.90/BOE or $158,124/Daily BOE).

Note: Although OPTI has reported probable reserves for Kinosis project, it is believed that as the project is not yet developed, the probable reserves are counted under the contingent resources. The contingent resources associated with Leismer and Cottonwood projects are not included for valuation as they are not planned to be developed in the medium term.

CNOOC- the healthier partner for Nexen
Last week, Opti Canada had filed for bankruptcy protection in Alberta as the company ran out of cash to fund its oil sands operations. In this regard, CNOOC’s proposal to acquire OPTI rescues not only OPTI but also Nexen as it has got a wealthier partner for its oil sands assets. Nexen has revealed that it will ramp up the drilling at its Long Lake oil sands project to use the processing plant more effectively.
Source: OPTI Canada
Canadian Oil Sands - resources and related deal activity
Alberta’s oil reserves are located in three main areas: Peace River, Cold Lake, and Athabasca. The Athabasca oil sands area, where OPTI and Nexen own substantial resources, is the richest of the three and has the most concentrated oil sands development.

Canada's oil sands are estimated to hold as much as 175 billion barrels of bitumen (Source: Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB)). ERCB reports that oil sands bitumen production is currently around 1.5 million barrels per day and expects the oil sands production to reach 2.7 million barrels per day by 2015. The oil sands projects are believed to have a steady production profile of up to 50 years with no decline.

Eighty percent of all bitumen resources in the Athabasca oil sands region are too deep to mine and hence these bitumen resources have to be recovered using in-situ techniques, such as SAGD. It is estimated that Canadian oil sands resources represent 13% of the world’s total crude oil reserves, ranking second only after Saudi Arabia (Source: Energy Information Administration).
Source: CNOOC

The deal activity with respect to oil sands was completely down since the beginning of 2011. The last major acquisition by the Chinese companies in the oil sands was in April 2010, when Sinopec acquired Syncrude project from ConocoPhillips for $4.65 billion.

The following table shows the oil sands deals since 2005.
Source: CNOOC

The Chinese companies were active in acquiring oil and gas assets past one year. The significant (greater than $1 billion) acquisitions include:
  • Sinopec acquiring 40% interest in Repsol's Brazilian business for $7.1 billion
  • Sinopec acquiring Syncrude project from ConocoPhillips for $4.65 billion
  • CNOOC and Bridas acquiring Pan American Energy from BP for $3.5 billion
  • CNOOC acquiring Niobrara shale assets from Chesapeake for $3.5 billion
  • Sinopec acquiring Argentina unit of Oxy for $2.45 billion
Petrochina failed to acquire Encana's Montney assets in a $5.4 billion bid made in February 2011. Notably, there were no acquisitions made by the Chinese companies since then.

Prior to this $2.1 billion oil sands deal, CNOOC clinched a back to back Niobrara JV with Chesapeake. The acquisition trend of CNOOC in North America discloses an interesting fact that, CNOOC is interested in acquiring oil assets unlike other Chinese or Asian companies who were/are interested in unconventional gas assets.

Mozambique: Oil & Gas Exploration in 2011 – 2012

Mozambique is a country in East Africa present between Tanzania on the north and South Africa in the south. A string of significant gas discoveries in the off shore north-east has substantially increased the prospectivity in the country and exploration activity looks set to pick up.

The country has two main sedimentary basins; the Rovuma Basin in the north east, where most of the discoveries have occurred, and the Mozambique basin further south. The Rovuma Basin is located close to the border between Tanzania and Mozambique, at the Rovuma delta, and measures 400 km in length and about 160 km in breadth. The area towards the south follows the Ibo horst trend and towards the north, it is featured as a tertiary Rovuma delta.

The Pande gas field, discovered by Gulf Oil, was the first field to be discovered in Mozambique, in 1961. This was followed by the Búzi (1962) and Temane (1967) gas fields. Exploration activity on the Pande/ Temane block by Sasol later led to the discovery of the Inhassoro gas field.

The consortium exploring the Offshore Area 1, led by Anadarko, has been the most successful so far with 4 significant gas discoveries. These are listed below:

Discovery Name
Net Pay (ft)
Gross Pay (ft)
Oil/ Gas
Total Depth
Reservoir rock
Future Work
> 1200
Oligocene + Paleocene
Coring program completed (part of appraisal work)
Plugged and suspended following pore pressure issues. Did not evaluate the desired section.

Plugged and abandoned as sands had low porosity and permeability

Oligocene + Paleocene

Oligocene + Eocene
Coring program completed (part of appraisal work)

Table 1: Windjammer, Barquentine, Lagosta and Tubarao encountered substantial gas. The Ironclad well is significant because it encountered an oil column (although non-commercial), which was the first time oil was discovered in offshore Mozambique or in the deep offshore off East Africa.Source, Derrick Petroleum Services.

Source: Wentworth Resources

An overview of exploration activity planned in the country is provided in the table below, along with an account of recent exploration from Derrick Petroleum’s “Exploration Database” is provided below.

Block/ License Name
Wells planned in 2011
Wells planned in 2012+
Offshore Area 1
Deep Offshore
Onshore Rovuma Block
Not mentioned

Buzi Block
Energi Mega Persada

DNO International ASA (DNO)
Not mentioned

Blocks 2 & 5
Deep Offshore
Not mentioned

Area 4
Deep Offshore


Table 1: Operators planning to drill exploration wells in Mozambique in 2011 and 2012+. Source, Derrick Petroleum ‘Planned Wells Exploration Database’

Offshore Area 1:
Anadarko is the operator of the 2.6-million-acre Offshore Area 1 with a 36.5% working interest. Co-owners in the area are Mitsui E&P (20 %), BPRL (10 %), Videocon Mozambique Rovuma 1 (10 %) and Cove Energy Mozambique Rovuma Offshore (8.5 %). Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos, E.P.'s 15- interest is carried through the exploration phase. An overview of the recent exploration activity in this area is given in Table 1, and the 4 discoveries can be seen in Map 1.

The consortium is planning to acquire 3D seismic over the Black Pearl prospect in Q1-Q2 2011, following which exploratory drilling would occur. In 2012, the consortium plans to drill the Atum-1, Golfinho-1, Linguado, Badejo-1, Camarao and Black Pearl prospects.

Onshore Rovuma Block:
Anadarko (37.5%) operates this block and the partners are Maurel & Prom (24%), Wentworth Resources Ltd (15.3%), Cove Energy Plc (10%) and ENH (15%). On October 11, 2009 the first exploration well on the block, Mecupa-1,was spudded. It had minor gas shows and was plugged and abandoned.

At present (July 2011), the partners have agreed to enter a 2nd exploration phase beginning in 2011. The work programme is expected to include additional seismic acquisition and at least one exploration well.

Buzi Block:
This onshore block is operated by Energi Mega Persada (75% WI) and partner is ENH (25%). The Buzi block is located onshore within the central part of the Mozambique Basin and covers approximately 10,300 km2 and lies immediately to the North of the Pande, Temane and Inhassoro Gas fields. The undeveloped Buzi gas discovery within the block, is only 27 km to the southwest of Beira. Initial plans included two exploration wells and possibly two appraisal probes, should gas be discovered. This is yet to be done.

The consortium was planning to spud its first well on the block in 2011 as announced in 2009. However, as on 30 June, 2011, no information about drilling has been released by either of the partners.

Inhaminga Block:
The Inhaminga Block lies onshore Mozambique. DNO International (34% WI) operates the block and partners are New Age Ltd (41%), Harmattan Uruguay S.A., and the Mozambique government (20%). DNO International has planned to carry out 2D seismic program on the block in H2 2009. The first prospect Chite was drilled on 19 November, 2010. However, the well was dry and was plugged and abandoned. The second well Inhaminga High-1 well was spudded in Feb 2011, and was also dry.

DNO says in its 2010 annual report that it plans to drill a well here in 2011. However, media reports mention that DNO will close down its operations in Mozambique after drilling unsuccessful wells.

Blocks 2&5:
Blocks 2 & 5 are located in the Rovuma basin offshore northern Mozambique, and operated by Statoil (90% WI) with partner ENH (10%). A 1,300 sq km 3D seismic survey was carried out between March & June 2010 and interpretation is ongoing as of March 2011. The decision to extend the license and commit to drilling an exploration well was supposed to have been made by 1 June 2011, but as on 1 July, this decision is still forthcoming. 

Area 4:
ENI operates the block with a 70% WI. Other partners are Galp Energia (10%), ENH (10%) and KOGAS (10%). Area 4 is located in deep water up to a depth of 2,600 metres in the Rovuma Basin and covers an area of 17,646 sq kms in a previously unexplored geological basin, and this operation is part of Eni's strategy to identify new areas with a high exploration potential.

The consortium is planning to drill a well in September 2011. 


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