Shooting seismic in Algeria

December 9, 2005, 10:10 CET

Seismic surveying is now under way on the Statoil-operated Hassi Mouina block in Algeria, where plans call for the first wildcat to be spudded during 2006.

About 250 kilometres of two-dimensional data have so far been gathered in the two-year seismic programme, and some 36,500 kilometres of aeromagnetic information will also be collected.

Hassi Mouina lies north-west of the In Salah gas field where Statoil has a 31.85 per cent interest.

Algerian oil and gas company Sonatrach has earlier drilled one well on the block, which identified hydrocarbons.

“We’re confident that we can make commercial discoveries here,” says David Poole, exploration manager for north Africa in the International Exploration & Production business area.

“The lessons we’re learning will also be invaluable for future projects in similar areas. Extensive use of technology which is new to us is exciting, and broadens our expertise.”

Statoil has carried out an environmental impact assessment to ensure that no plant or animal life is threatened, and that no archaeological sites will be damaged.

“Hassi Mouina is our first independent Algerian operation, and can thereby be regarded as a trial run for our land-based activities here,” says Terje Halmø, country manager for Algeria.

“We’ve been very well received by the national and local authorities as well as by our partners and the people of Timimoun, which will eventually become our base in the Sahara.”

Statoil has a 75 per cent interest in the acreage, with Sonatrach holding the remaining 25 per cent.