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Thu 1 Feb 2007 04:40 PM

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Test success off coast of Oman successful

Indago Petroleum is a step closer to getting at hydrocarbon reserves in the West Bukha-2A well off Oman coast

Indago Petroleum has begun testing on the West Bukha-2A (WB2A) well off the coast of Oman.

The company operates Block 8, along with partners, Eagle Energy and LG International. Indago has recorded flow rates of over 4,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the Thamama at WB2A and further testing of the Mishrif Mauddud is planned.

"The next stage is to suspend the well at the sea floor," said Peter Sadler, CEO of Indago Petroleum. "Then we will bring a platform in and go over the well. This platform has six drilling slots, one of which will be tied in to the existing well. We can then drill other wells from the platform."

Indago expects to commission the platform during April 2008. The original wellbore, West Bukha-2, which penetrated the Shuaiba and Kharaib reservoirs of the Thamama in August last year, was sidetracked after the drill string parted while drilling.

"We had just started to open up the chokes even more when one of the surface seals started leaking," said Sadler. "We had to pull the string and re-run the whole thing again. But because we'd had one downhole valve fail, we couldn't just fix the surface. From a safety point of view, one barrier is not enough."

Indago has also completed the first stage of operations at the onshore Hawamel 1A exploration well in Oman's Block 47. Sadler outlined some of the challenges involved when testing for hydrocarbons in Oman.

"When you start drilling a well there is a lot of uncertainty. We have shown with Hamamel 1A that the formation is there, it had a shale seal on top of it, it is a valid structure and we believe there is gas in it. The reason we are unsure is that the porosity in this rock is so small. Typically in the North Sea, you might have a rock formation that is 25% porosity.

"In Oman, we are dealing with 1-2% porosity. This makes the wire line log responses very difficult to interpret. If you take the logs that are in West Bukha-2, what may look like evidence of hydrocarbon reserves is in fact mud that has infiltrated into the pore spaces. The problem with very low porosity formations is that inevitably, only a small proportion of an already small potential will materialise as hydrocarbons."

The first flowing test was carried out on the uppermost Shuaiba section of the Thamama formation.

"Before now, the Thamama has never been produced commercially at any of the wells in the structure before, so this is a new reserve base for us," said Sadler.

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