Canadian Superior Energy Inc. announced last Tuesday that, having bought out partner El Paso Corp.’s offshore Nova Scotia exploration and production assets in September, it is going ahead with its “Mariner” project offshore Nova Scotia, near Sable Island, with a second well planned for a drilling window open from January through April.

The producer is into the final round of bidding with drilling contractors, and it plans to begin drilling during a window from Dec. 31, 2004 to April 31, 2005, “depending on rig selection, regulatory approval and the finalizing of partner arrangements that are currently underway,” said Mike Coolen, Vice President, East Coast Operations. Canadian Superior says it has identified three large prospects on the 101,800 acre,”Mariner” block, utilizing high-resolution seismic.

An independent assessment of the initial well in the field, the Mariner I-85, a deep, high pressure, high temperature well, showed 80.7 feet of net pay and potential recoverable reserves between 211 Bcf and 632 Bcf, Canadian Superior said last month, citing a well log assessment by Al Lye & Associates of Calgary. The assessment also showed that four zones warranted flow testing in the well “based on the gas indications, calculated saturation and porosity values, and the pressure potential at the depth of these formations,” the company said.

Coolen said the assessment “essentially supports our own in-house evaluations. We believe the independent report also supports Canadian Superior’s view that the Mariner I-85 well, that was untested and abandoned after our joint venture partner El Paso elected not to proceed any further with drilling on the Mariner I-85 well, established gas in multiple zones and our view that a large gas pool exists on the Mariner Block.”

The announcement of the independent assessment came Sept. 21, several days after Canadian Superior said it had acquired the El Paso assets for an undisclosed amount (see NGI, Sept. 20). The two companies teamed up in 2002 and again in 2003 to work in the Scotian offshore, but the projects had never matched El Paso’s expectations.

In March the companies stopped drilling on the Mariner I-85, citing costs and problems with pack ice. At the time Greg Noval, Canadian Superior’s CEO said, “We are pleased with the results obtained in the drilling of the Canadian Superior El Paso Mariner I-85 well, the first well on the ‘Mariner’ Block. However, given the recent operational pack ice delays and associated cost and the current overall cost of the well, we have reluctantly agreed with El Paso, the operator of the test well, not to proceed with any further testing or completion operations on the test well at this time, to maintain the well within the original budget” (see NGI, March 15).

El Paso and Canadian Superior, one of the largest leaseholders in the Scotian waters, announced a partnership in 2002 to work on the offshore Marquis Natural Gas Project. They set up another venture last year to develop and drill the Mariner gas prospect, which was then projected to hold potential reserves of more than 1 Tcf.

The El Paso acquisition included interests in the Marquis blocks (EL 2401 and 2402), and in the Mariner block (EL 2409) and in the Mariner I-85 well, all of El Paso’s seismic data, all shared geophysical, geotechnical and environmental data, all related inventory and extensive tax pools. Both the wells are located in shallow water close to producing Sable Island gas fields.

Calgary-based Canadian Superior has operations in western Canada, offshore Nova Scotia and offshore Trinidad and Tobago. The company is one of the largest acreage holders offshore Nova Scotia, with 100% interests in 1,293,946 acres.

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