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Lloyds List: Shell hails a year of discovery as its big cats roar on

Oil major replaces more reserves than it produced in 2005 and enjoys a 72% success rate with the drill bit
Feb 07, 2006

ROYAL Dutch Shell had a successful year of exploration in 2005 replacing more reserves than it produced and gaining a good discovery rate, writes Martyn Wingrove .

The Anglo-Dutch oil major found 2bn barrels of oil equivalent in 2005 and had a 72% success rate with the exploratory drill bit.
These are likely to be the backbone of the group's production growth after 2008, while its near-term investments will provide the basis of keeping production growing at a steady rate.
Some of its numerous discoveries were its 'big cat' targets where reserves are more than 100m boe net to Shell.
'We drilled 15 big cat wells in 2005, three are still drilling and we evaluated the other 12,' Shell's chief executive Jeroen van der Veer said.
'Seven of these were successful in Australia, Malaysia, Norway and four in Nigeria.'
In Malaysia, Shell found one big cat with its Ubah well off the northern Borneo coast and in Norway it drilled the Onyx SW discovery in the Norwegian Sea. Two of the four big cat discoveries in Nigeria were named as Etan and Bobo.
Each of these big cat discoveries could become stand-alone developments in the next five years involving subsea systems and floating production units.
In the fourth quarter, Shell made 20 discoveries in Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Egypt, Germany, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, UK and the US. Most of these are on the smaller size, but still can act as satellite developments.
The London-listed group has plenty of projects under way to boost its near-term production to the top of its target of 3.8m barrels per day.
Last year, its output was around 3.5m bpd, after operations were hit by hurricanes and due to the impact of divestments and the end of a production sharing contract in Oman.
This year, Shell expects to be producing in the lower half of this target, mostly because of the shutdown of the Mars tension leg platform until the summer due to damage inflicted by hurricanes last year.
Its long-term aim is to be producing between 4.5m and 5m bpd by 2015, Mr van der Veer said.
'We have many projects under way with important ones in Sakhalin and Australia.'
'There are continued developments in Malaysia and Brunei. We are active in Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and Canada.
'In Nigeria, the Bonga project just started and there are more start-ups to come and in Norway we are working on Ormen Lange.'
In the fourth quarter, Shell started gas production from its Shallow Clastics and E11 hub project in Malaysia and the Bonga field started pumping up to 150,000 bpd through a newbuild FPSO.
Shell entered into the Ukrainian exploration sector, gained more leases in Canada and Brazil, plus it saw the start up of Nigerian liquefied natural gas train four.

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