The proposed investment plan follows testing in October of the Bir Seba prospect, which flowed at 5,100 barrels a day (b/d) of oil and 4.8 million cubic feet a day of gas (MEED 27:1:06). ‘The reservoir is estimated to hold a minimum of 534 million barrels of oil, and is likely to contain in the region of 1,160 million barrels,’ says the official.

The consortium aims to bring the field into production in 2009. The proposed investment plan includes:Acquisition of 1,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic in 2005 and up to 2,000 square kilometres by 2009;Drilling of 30 appraisal and production wells in 2007-09, with the possibility of a further 30 wells after the first oil flow;Construction of crude processing facilities and storage tanks;Construction of a pipeline between the processing facilities and the country’s national oil and gas network.

PIDC holds a 40 per cent stake in the concession, with the local subsidiary of PTT Exploration & Production (PTTEP) holding 35 per cent and state energy company Sonatrach the remaining 25 per cent.