Drilling comes up dry

Moira Baird
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ConocoPhillips abandons first well in Laurentian Basin

ConocoPhillips' first exploration well in Newfoundland waters came up dry.

Work wrapped up last week on the well dubbed East Wolverine G-37, which is located in water depths of about two kilometres off Newfoundland's south coast.

The news of the dry well was delivered Thursday as the third-largest U.S. oil and gas company discussed its first-quarter financial results. Houston-based ConocoPhillips' profits doubled to almost US$2.1 billion in the first three months of this year.

ConocoPhillips' first exploration well in Newfoundland waters came up dry.

Work wrapped up last week on the well dubbed East Wolverine G-37, which is located in water depths of about two kilometres off Newfoundland's south coast.

The news of the dry well was delivered Thursday as the third-largest U.S. oil and gas company discussed its first-quarter financial results. Houston-based ConocoPhillips' profits doubled to almost US$2.1 billion in the first three months of this year.

"In early April, drilling and logging operations were completed on our Laurentian Basin wildcat, and the well was subsequently plugged and abandoned," Clayton Reasor, vice-president of corporate affairs for ConocoPhillips, told investment analysts.

"The costs of the well incurred through March 31 are included in our Q1 financial results as dry hole expense.

"A significant amount of data was collected and is being analyzed," Reasor said. "No decision has been made regarding any potential future activities in this area."

There was no indication of how long a decision on ConocoPhillips' next steps in the area would take.

Even before its one-well drilling program began in the Laurentian Basin, ConocoPhillips said there was a low probability of success.

"It's a rank exploration well, so it has a fairly low probability of success as any new well into untested structures would have," Ian Way, Calgary-based vice-president of business development, said in a Nov. 21, 2009, Telegram story.

ConocoPhillips' first-quarter earnings indicate the cost of international exploration was US$93 million as of March 31.

No breakdown was included for the cost of the Laurentian well which took about six months to drill, log and plug.

A ConocoPhillips spokesman said Thursday the company does not provide breakdowns of individual well costs.

Drilling the East Wolverine well allowed the company to keep its four exploration licences in the Laurentian Basin until July 2013. They were set to expire this summer.

Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips has also been prepping for seismic surveys in the Laurentian Basin to map what lies beneath the seabed. Those surveys were scheduled for as early as this year or by 2012.

A decision was expected in May or June.

But industry insiders say supply and service contractors have already been told no Laurentian Basin surveys will be carried out this year.

mbaird@thetelegram.com

Organizations: ConocoPhillips, Laurentian

Geographic location: Laurentian Basin, Newfoundland, U.S.

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