A Thirsty Dragon Strikes in Turkmenistan

Via Energy Daily, reports that one relatively obscure Western oil company – Ireland’s Dragon Oil – managed to beat out mega-competitors such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Royal Dutch Shell to develop Turkmenistan’s nascent Caspian oilfields, the result of years of careful planning during a time when oil traded for below $20 a barrel, and an eye for opportunities overlooked by its massive competitors, who were seeking gargantuan projects.  I also have to believe that the fact that, in 1999, the Emirates National Oil Co. (owned by the government of Dubai), became Dragon’s major shareholder in Dragon, may have been a supporting factor.  Nevertheless, Dragon Oil’s long-term vision has paid off, while major Western energy companies can only watch as Gazprom and China slowly absorb future Turkmen production.  As the article notes:

“…In November 1999, Dragon Oil signed a 25-year production-sharing agreement to develop its 367-square-mile Cheleken concession on Turkmenistan’s Caspian Sea shelf, in depths ranging from 26 to 140 feet. The PSA stipulated the eventual production of 80 million tons of oil over the life of the PSA.

…Dragon Oil has been developing the Cheleken territory since 1993 under a joint venture agreement. Quick off the mark, it delivered equipment to modernize existing wells and announced ambitious plans to rebuild 12 Caspian platforms, pipelines to connect the fields to onshore oil refining and storage facilities, in addition to adding 50,000 tons of oil storage capacity. As if to spur Dragon Oil’s efforts, at the time Ashgabat was in talks with Exxon on a PSA to develop fields on the right bank of the Amu Darya River.

In June 2001 Dragon Oil completed drilling a 12,000-foot test well in its Cheleken contract offshore Dzheihun field, its first well to be drilled in the concession. In 2002 it boosted oil production, drilling four new wells and raising output from 6,000 to 15,000 barrels per day.

…Last year would prove to be Dragon Oil’s most productive since the PSA went into effect, as it extracted 1.5 million tons of oil, a 50-percent increase above the 1 million tons produced the previous year. On Jan. 4 Dragon Oil Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hussain M. Sultan said, “I am very pleased to report that we have delivered on our promise to achieve a production rate of 40,000 barrels per day by 2008.”In a further comment that undoubtedly induced much hand-wringing in Houston boardrooms, Sultan added, “I am also pleased to announce that we were honored with a very positive meeting with the president of Turkmenistan on 26th December 2007. His Excellency, the President, expressed his support for Dragon Oil’s strategy to increase oil production as well as our plans for the utilization of the considerable gas resources contained in the Cheleken Contract Area.”

This entry was posted on Monday, January 14th, 2008 at 12:39 pm and is filed under Dubai, Turkmenistan.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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