Sincor tests first well
Testing of the first development well for the Sincor heavy crude project in Venezuela is due to begin this week.
Dubbed IC-00, the vertical observation well drilled by PD-731 - a rig belonging to Canada's Precision Drillings - will provide information for the future siting of six to 12 horizontal wells.
Plans call for the first of the latter to be spudded in late September.
Drilling of IC-00 began last week, and well manager Tore Larsen in Sincor reports that the work has almost been completed.
He adds that the well was delayed for about three weeks because the rainy season hampered road construction in the area. But he does not expect this to affect future progress.
The second rig deployed by the project, T-43 from Germany's Deutag, is due to be in position on 21 September.
At least 170 horizontal wells are due to have been drilled by the end of 2001. Mr Larsen reports that the present workforce of roughly 80 people is set to rise to 500 by next March.
Located in the Zuata region of Venezuela's inland Orinoco Belt, Sincor will start early production towards the end of next year. Plans call for full production capacity to be reached by the end of 2001.
The area is thought to contain 45 billion barrels of oil, with production scheduled to last for 35 years.