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Tunisia - Adam, El-Borma & Agip Operations.

Agip, of Italy's ENI group, produces 29,000 b/d of crude oil and varied volumes of natural gas in Tunisia. Its main onshore oilfields are Adam (17,000 b/d) and el-Borma (12,000 b/d). In 2005 Adam, in the Borj el-Khadra prospect in Ghadames Basin, became Tunisia's largest producing oilfield at 18,000 b/d. The Borj el-Khadra prospect is operated by Agip (25%), with Pioneer of the US (20%), Paladin (since 2005 part of Talisman of Canada, 5%) and ETAP (50%). El-Borma, which Agip found in 1964 near the Algerian border, in 1985 peaked at 76,000 b/d.

Agip found Adam in August 2002, which tested oil and gas at a gross interval of more than 300 metres at depths of about 3,000 metres from two zones: Acacus A sand flowing at 250 b/d, and Acacus B sand flowing at 3,500 b/d of 41? API oil. Two other potentially productive zones were identified. Adam was put on stream in early 2003 at 5,000 b/d of oil and 5.3 MCF/d of gas. In late 2003 Agip made another oil and gas find in the Hawa-1 exploration well, which encountered an aggregate 46 metres of net oil pay and 9 metres of net gas pay in the Acacus A and Tannezuft Fms over a gross interval of about 280 metres at a depth of 3,300 metres. Hawa-1 tested 2,460 b/d of 41? API oil with a gas-to-oil ratio of about 700:1. These boosted Adam's output in 2005.

Dallas-based Pioneer in mid-2002 bought Petro-Canada's stake in this venture. Pioneer has 30% in the adjacent Anaguid block where Anadarko of the US is the operator holding 61%. Pioneer also has 50% and operatorship in the onshore Bazma, Jorf and el-Hamra tracts.

Agip's unit AgipPetroli and Societe Nationale de Distribution des Petroles (SNDP) are jointly marketing jet kerosine in the aviation-fuel sector under an agreement signed in early 1998. SNDP holds a 29.3% share of the local market for oil products, and operates in five of Tunisia's airports (see down15TunisRefPetchApr12-10).

Agip was one of the first foreign firms to invest in Tunisia. In 1964, as it found el-Borma, the Italian company established a 50-50 JV with ETAP, called Societe Italo-Tunisienne d'Exploration Petroliere (Sitep), to operate on its Permis du Sud and develop el-Borma. In 1990, after an improvement of Tunisia's E&P regime, Sitep embarked on deep drilling in el-Borma and found an interesting structure beneath the field. This is more than 4,000 metres deep. Agip said it was rich in oil and gas, and was to lengthen el-Borma's productive life.

El-Borma, Tunisia's first oil find, is an extension of Algeria's Zarzaitine field. It has been losing reservoir pressure for years and requires additional EOR facilities. Some of its oils are reservoired in Triassic TAGI sands of the Ghadames. There are prolific oilfields on the Algerian side of this basin, where Agip is a major producer. El-Borma is producing 42.5? API Zarzaitine crude, whose market value is higher than that of Brent.

ENI's CEO Paolo Scaroni visited Tunis on Jan. 4, 2008, and met with PM Mohamed Ghannouchi and Minister of Industry, Energy and Small-Medium Enterprises Afif Chelbi to discuss the future of the TransMed pipeline which pumps natural gas from Algeria to Italy and passes through Tunisia. ENI then announced it was to triple its investment to around TD500m ($410m) in Tunisia's upstream that year as part of its efforts to raise oil production. Talks also focused on development of two oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Hammamet.

TransMed is being expanded to 33.5 BCM/year by 2012. Saipem, 43%-owned by ENI, was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction and commissioning (EPCC) contract to carry out the expansion of the Tunisian section of the pipeline in February 2007. On Jan. 4 the two parties agreed to extend their supply agreement regarding TransMed beyond its 2019 expiry date.

The two oil and gas fields in Agip's Enfidha block in the Gulf of Hammamet will make a substantial contribution to Tunisia's energy supply once in production. (North Africa is a core growth area for ENI, which has a significant presence in Libya and Algeria. ENI was also contributing to construction of a $600m gas pipeline to supply the town of Gabes).

In Oued Zar in the far south, Agip in 1971 found the Chouech Essaida and ech-Chouech fields, both in a Triassic reservoir 12,600 feet and 11,888 feet deep, respectively - which it developed immediately. Later Agip found the Oued Zar field. With recoverable reserves first estimated at over 4m barrels of 39-43.2? API oils, more than two thirds of these have been extracted.

Output at Chouech Essaida peaked at 9,000 b/d; but now it is shut in. Ech-Chouech produces less than 60 b/d, down from 140 b/d in early 1996. In its Oued Zar area, Agip in March 2001 found oil and gas in its Hammouda North-1 well at a depth of 3,507 metres. Two drill-steam tests were run in the Silurian Acacus sands and these flowed at 3,873 b/d of oil and about 2.9 MCF/day of gas. The well was subsequently put into production.

In 1997 Agip's Hammouda-1 wildcat 7 km west of Oued Zar field had tested 3,508 b/d of 42? API oil, 1,400 b/d of condensate and 14.2 MCF/day of gas from a Silurian Acacus Fm. Drilling of Hammouda-2 was completed in 1999 and resulted in a small find. The Oued Zar and Hammouda fields were developed, but their output has since fallen considerably.

In April 1996, Agip got the Jenein-Nord block of the Ghadames Basin in the Tataouine region in the south. In late 1997, Agip gave Anadarko 50% in Jenein-Nord in return for 30% in the US company's Zula block in the Red Sea territory of Eritrea operated by Anadarko. Agip spudded its first exploration well at Jenein Nord in mid-1999. This block lies just to the east of the prolific Berkine Basin on the Algerian side of the border where Anadarko, Agip and others have made large fields. (Anadarko is a major oil producer in Algeria).

Pioneer, Agip's partner in blocks including Borj el-Khadra where the Adam field is located, in May 2007 announced a fourth oil find in Jenein-Nord. It then said that, based on testing, the four finds could yield about 30,000 b/d of oil equivalent. The tests found the wells' yield to consist of 85% oil and 15% gas. The company said it expected to finalise plans by end-June 2007 to have oil production facilities on the Jenein-Nord Block built. It was then said that there were more than 30 prospective wells in that area, and Agip planned to drill up to four additional exploration wells in 2007 in Jenein-Nord and three wells in adjacent fields.

Agip has developed marginal fields to the east of el-Borma: Laarich found in 1979 and now producing less than 50 b/d of 41? API oil (135 b/d in 1996); Debbech found in 1980 but now depleted; and Mahrouga, further towards the coast, found in 1980 and now producing 750 b/d of 45.6? API oil (down from 4,500 b/d in 1995). They went on stream in 1983. Their recoverable reserves were then estimated at 7.5m barrels. Agip's partners in this are ETAP and Total.

Agip has 25% in the offshore Marin Centre Oriental block awarded in 1973. The operator in this is Coparex, which in 1996 bought the 65% stake of Samedan, with Total then having 10%. The block has Zinnia, found in 1989, producing less than 50 b/d of 39? API oil. In 1996 Samedan found a gas field at Zinnia, which has been developed by Coparex.

In October 1978 Agip got 49% of the Enfida block. In 1988 Agip's Maamoura-1 exploration well tested 2,880 b/d of 38 deg. API oil. A second well, drilled 15-18 km off the coast near Hammamet and completed in February 1988, yielded 5,000 b/d. In October 1990 the 148-sq km perimetre including the Maamoura find was turned into a 30-year concession granted to Agip, 49%, with ETAP holding 51%.

In 1986 Agip got the Bir Aouine block from Pecten (a US unit of Shell) which withdrew from that area. The licence was extended for three years in 1987, when the acreage was reduced from 12,706 sq km to 9,976 sq km.

In October 1981 Agip got 24.5% in the onshore/offshore Sfax-Kerkennah block through a farm-out which left ETAP with 50% and Total with 25.5%. The deal required Agip to drill three wells in the first phase of developing the small Mahares field, which began in 1982, and to drill two more wells later.

In June 1991 Agip signed an accord with ETAP for the offshore el-Haouaria block. Covering an area of 1,480 sq km to the east of Cap Bon in a zone where the water is 40-200 metres deep. The concession was granted for a period of three years, renewable for two further two-and-a-half-year periods. For each period, exploration spending was set at a minimum of 5m Tunisian dinars, and work was to include the shooting of at least 500 km of seismic lines and the drilling of one well. The production period, in the event of commercial discovery, was 30 years. ETAP was to participate in the financing of development, but with its stake in the JV limited to 50%. That was the 17th licence awarded to Agip in Tunisia.

In January 1994 Agip signed an agreement with LUKoil of Russia, giving it equity in the offshore Enfida and el-Haouaria blocks in return for equity given to the Italian company in one of LUKoil's fields in Siberia. In 1997, Agip drilled two exploration wells at the onshore Maamoura permit and the offshore Enfida permit. In 1996, Agip made a small oil discovery offshore in the Gulf of Hammamet. In January 1998 Agip's Baraka-1 in the Enfida block in the Gulf of Hammamet tested 4,353 b/d of 43? API oil and 4.48 MCF/day of gas from a Miocene Umm Douil Fm. In August 2002 Agip made a fairly large offshore oil discovery at Baraka South-East, on the Enfida block, which tested 4,600 b/d of "high quality oil". Agip said that was the highest flow rate ever achieved in a vertical well drilled off Tunisia. The well was put down in water about 90 metres deep and was punched through a depth of 2,300 metres, some 100 km south-east of Tunis. Agip has since developed the Baraka fields; but their output has declined, already requiring an expensive EOR system.
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Date:Apr 12, 2010
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