Production from the new A field is scheduled to reach a plateau of 40,000 barrels a day (b/d) and is expected to come on stream in the first quarter of 2004.

Exploration activity in NC-186 started in May 1998 and has involved the drilling of a number of exploratory and appraisal wells in addition to the acquisition of seismic data. Work on the block’s A field has revealed estimated recoverable oil reserves of 140 million barrels.

Repsol hopes to finalise the agreement with NOC by the end of the year and will then move ahead with tendering the development packages. In addition to installing production facilities, a 31-kilometre pipeline will be built, linking the A field to the facilities of the giant El-Sharara field in Block NC-115, which is also operated by Repsol and its partners. From there, output from the NC-186 block will be transported via existing pipeline to the Mediterranean port of Zavia.

The El-Sharara field is one of Libya’s main producing fields. It has a capacity of around 200,000 b/d, but OPEC constraints have limited production to 163,000 b/d in recent months (see Special Report).