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What We Saw at the Inaugural Calgary Global Exploration Forum in Calgary, Alberta, Canada


In the hierarchy of oil capitals it’s no secret Houston holds top place. After that, the ranking is somewhat debatable, but certainly London and Singapore are near the top of the list. However, if you are looking to make a deal with an innovative independent exploring the far reaches of the globe, nowhere beats Calgary. Of the 402 Oil & Gas companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the vast majority call this metropolis at the foot of the Canadian Rockies home. And most of them have offices within a ten-block radius in the center of the city.

Right Place, Right Time

With that in mind, the Calgary Global Exploration Forum (CGEF) held its first international E&P symposium on November 27, 2012. Several hundred people listened to presentations made by 28 of the group’s 30 members. Groups ranged in size from companies that employ hundreds and produce 100,000 barrels of oil per day, to tiny start-ups manned by two or three determined experts with nothing more than a portfolio of promising prospects. These companies are exploring in 46 countries and attendees were treated to opportunities ranging from Southeast Asia to South America to Africa.

Conference chair David Monachello, President of Winstar Resources, has set the bar high. The organization’s goal is to make Calgary second only to Houston in the ranking of global energy cities. Certainly the city has the professionals, as more than 40,000 engineers, 3,600 geologists and 1,100 geophysicists call the province of Alberta home.

Let’s Make a Deal

As is the case when companies are pitching to potential partners, the sheer volume of forward-looking exploration plans was overwhelming. A random sampling includes details of exploratory drilling planned by Kulczyk Oil Ventures in Brunei, Parex Resources in Trinidad and DualEx Energy International in Tunisia. Kulczyk and Parex are both looking for partners.

Kulczyk has a 90% working interest in Block L, the only onshore block in Brunei, where it has acquired 783 square kilometers of new 3D seismic. The company is getting ready to drill two exploration wells in the first quarter of 2013. They have reportedly identified more than 18 structural and stratigraphic prospects and leads, from which they have selected two fault-bounded structural closures for drilling: Lukut Updip and the Luba prospect. These wells are expected to cost US$ 9 million each. Kulczyk is offering up to half of its 90% in return for a share of costs incurred since January 2011 (estimated at $ 17 million) and the 100% funding of these two wells. Block L also offers appraisal opportunities in the Jerudong Oil & Gas field and Bubut gas field.

Parex Resources, the company that was spun out of the exploration assets of Petro Andina when the latter was acquired by Pluspetrol in 2009, has two onshore Trinidad blocks that are available for joint venture. Parex is preparing to drill a 3,658 meter exploratory well on the Central Range Block, which is believed to have the potential for high reward. The company is looking to offset its exploration in Colombia’s Llanos Basin, where production is characterized by high rate, high decline. The Central Range Block is believed to be on trend the deep Cretaceous-Miocene trend that hosts offshore Trinidad’s Angostura oil and gas fields and the El Furrial oil field onshore Venezuela. Parex says its prospects have reservoir potential in both the Nariva and Angostura sandstones as well as the Cretaceous fractured argillites.

Meanwhile, a first quarter 2013 spud is planned by DualEx for a well on its Bouhajla North prospect on the Bouhajla Permit in Tunisia. The well has a proposed total depth of 2,500m and an expected drilling cost of US$ 7 million. The primary objective is the Abiod fractured chalky limestone, with a secondary objective in the shallower El Gueria limestone. Bouhajla North is believed to be an analogue to the Sidi El Kilani field on the adjacent block to the east. That field has produced about 48 MMbo from five wells, of which 27 MMbo was from a single well. DualEx says the Abiod formation alone has the potential for 40 to 50 MMbo gross.

NAPE of the North

For an inaugural event, it was an unqualified success. The quality of exhibits and attendees, as well as the deals that were made speaks very highly of the conference organizers and the future of the event. If you imagine NAPE some 20 years ago in a few small rooms, you get a small vision of what the coming years might look like for CGEF. This promising future will go a long way in helping the world’s Oil & Gas players to recognize Calgary as the major industry hub that it truly is.

For more information about CGEF, including how to reserve your spot for next year, contact either co-chair at: [email protected] or [email protected]

Now it’s your turn. Do you think Calgary can one day be seen as a “world oil capital” on par with Houston? Please, leave a comment below.

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