Nexen says Yemen Block 51 output reaches 20,000 b/d [Archives:2005/840/Local News]

May 9 2005

Yemen's Block 51, which came onstream late last year, is now producing as much as 20,000 b/d of oil from the Bashir al Khair-A field, Phillip Abraham, law and contracts manager for Canadian independent Nexen, said Apr 19.

Moreover, production at the block also known as East Al Hajr should total around 25,000 b/d before year-end, Abraham said during a Baker & McKenzie international energy projects briefing.

The field came online last November. Nexen holds 87.5% of the block and captured about 4,600 b/d net output from it in fourth-quarter 2004.

“The field continues to ramp, and we're still testing wells” there, Kevin Finn, company investor relations vice-president, told Platts. Nexen and government partner Yemen Company have two rigs running at Block 51-one for exploration wells and one for development drilling.

In addition to development wells, the company plans to drill six exploration wells on the block this year, four of which have already been completed, Finn said.

“With the addition of Block 51, particularly…net of royalties, we anticipate our production in Yemen will be fairly constant in the next couple of years,” said Finn.

For Nexen, production from Block 51 more than offsets declines at the adjacent Masila Block, or Block 14, to the east. Masila produces roughly 200,000 b/d, or about 101,000 b/d net to Nexen. Production has peaked at Masila, whose output about a year ago was 230,000 b/d total. “Masila is largely a development project, and it's maturing,” said Finn. “We're managing it that way.”

Historically, Nexen and partners have drilled 60-80 wells on the block per year, but this will drop to 20-40 wells in 2005. Two rigs are on the block, with a third set to be added in a few weeks, said Finn.