Shell, Petromanas find light oil, gas in Albanian exploration

Thu Nov 7, 2013 11:20am EST

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* Find light oil, sweeter gas than expected

* Plan drilling more wells to determine capacity

TIRANA Nov 7 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell and Petromanas Energy Inc plan to drill more wells at an Albanian site to determine its production capacity after test flows from the first well found good quality oil and gas, a Petromanas official said.

If successful, the find could be the first major discovery in the impoverished Adriatic country since it toppled communism in 1990 and opened up exploration to oil majors.

Petromanas, a small Canadian company, partnered with Shell to drill the first well at Shpirag in southern Albania just half a mile from the spot where Occidental found very little oil in 2001. It has a 25 percent stake, while Shell controls the rest.

"The positive news is clearly that there is a reservoir there, and it is productive. It is a good quality light oil," Peter Sider, Petromanas' vice president for engineering operations and business development, told Reuters on Thursday.

Albanian crude is usually heavy and highly sulphurous.

"The other positive is that the associated gas is sweeter than we expected," Sider added.

"During the extended test, the Shpirag-2 well flowed at rates of 800 to 1,300 barrels per day (bpd) of 35 to 37 degree API oil and 2 to 5 mmcfd of gas," Petromanas and Shell said.

Petromanas, the operator, drilled Shpirag-2 to a total depth of 5,553 metres.

"The results of the Shpirag-2 well are encouraging and support the potential of this oil play in Albania," said Edwin Verdonk, Shell vice president for Europe exploration.

Sider said the operators will be pulling pressure recorders from the hole in 30 days to get an idea of the reservoir's size.

"It keeps us enthused to go on with the appraisal programme, but it will take a year or two determine whether we have a commercial project or not," Sider added.

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