Two new onshore oil blocks awarded
By M K Anwar

Brunei National Petroleum Company Sendirian Berhad (PetroleumBRUNEI) yesterday announced the successful bidders of two onshore blocks, including a consortium comprising QAF Brunei Sdn Bhd and Loon Energy Inc.

The Loon Energy Inc. and QAF Brunei Sdn Bhd consortium has been awarded the tender for Onshore Block 'L', which covers an area of 2,253 square kilometres. The block occupies the whole of Brunei-Muara District and parts of Tutong and Temburong Districts.

Meanwhile, another consortium involving China Oil USA (Macao) Company Ltd (ChinaOil), Valiant International Petroleum Ltd and Jana Corporation Sdn Bhd has been awarded Onshore Block 'M'.

The Onshore Block M comprises a single contiguous area occupying 3,011 square kilometres located in the western part of Brunei covering most of Belait District, but excluding the coastal area demarcated around Brunei Shell Petroleum Company's onshore concession area.

The two onshore blocks were officially launched in August last year and was hailed as another indication of the continuous effort of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to provide the necessary element to fuel the economic development of the nation.

The Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office, Pehin Dato Awg Hj Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Hj Bakar, speaking on the launching of Onshore Blocks 'L' and 'M' back in August, said the event was a continuation of a series of programmes to tender out areas for oil exploration and production that began in 2001 with deep water blocks 'J' and 'K'.

A huge portion of both Block 'L' and 'M' areas remain unexplored where in Block 'L', a few exploration wells had been drilled and hydrocarbon indications were evident in the underlying reservoir.

A number of exploration wells were drilled with the discovery of Jerudong Oil field in Block 'L' where more than 600,000 barrels of oil were produced between 1955 and 1962.

Block M has been explored since the beginning of this century with the first successful well, Belait-2, yielding 33,000 barrels of oil between 1924 and 1931. Many of these wells, Belait 11-14 and Belait 15-18, were drilled in Talingan area and indicated good oil and gas reservoirs.

It is hoped that the two onshore blocks would bring with them the prospect of increasing the nation's oil and gas reserves, the potential for greater employment opportunities and for the oil company to design taking into consideration their concerns for reasonable returns on investment.

PetroleumBRUNEI in its press statement yesterday said the successful bidders of the tender will conduct petroleum exploration and development activities on the blocks under a production-sharing contract (PSC) with PetroleumBRUNEI.

It added that the awards are subject to finalisation and execution of a PSC and compliance with other terms and conditions as required by PetroleumBRUNEI. - Borneo Bulletin (7th Feb 2006)