Canada’s First Calgary Petroleums(FCP) announced in late September the start of drilling on its ZCH-2 appraisal well on Rhourde Yacoub block 406a in the Berkine basin, southeast of Hassi Messaoud, as part of its new strategic focus on improving its reserve base.

FCP in July withdrew from negotiations with Spain’s Repsol on the formation of a joint venture after disagreements on a number of fundamental issues. The company, which holds two fields in the Berkine basin, had earlier dropped the option of an outright sale after companies failed to meet the initial asking price (MEED 27:5:05).

‘We are now focusing on improving our reserve base,’ says a company spokesperson. ‘We want to turn as much of our 3P [proven, probable and possible] reserves into 2P [proven and probable] reserves.’ At the end of 2004, the company had estimated gross 2P gas reserves of 4.2 trillion cubic feet equivalent (tcfe) and 3P gas reserves of 13.1 tcfe.

The new well has a projected depth of 3,800 metres and is expected to take 40 days to drill and log. It is located about three kilometres northeast of the company’s ZCH-1 exploration well and is designed to test and appraise the up-dip extension of the multiple hydrocarbon zones discovered there.

The ZCH-1 well, drilled in 2004, produced initial test rates of 6,376 barrels a day (b/d) of light oil, 2,169 b/d of condensate and 56.2 million cubic feet a day of natural gas. In addition to Rhourde Yacoub, FCP also holds Ledjmet block 405b.