March's top stories: Total sells OML share, BlackRock JV buys 45% Mexico stake

French energy firm Total has sold its interest in Nigerian onshore Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 to Aiteo Eastern E&P for $569m, and BlackRock and First Reserve have agreed to acquire a 45% stake in two Mexican natural gas pipelines. Hydrocarbons Technology wraps-up the key headlines from March 2015.


Gazprom

Total sells stake in Nigerian onshore OML 29 for $569m

Total

French energy firm Total sold its interest in Nigerian onshore Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 to Aiteo Eastern E&P for $569m.

The divestment brings proceeds to more than $1bn including the recent OML 24 and OML 18 stake sales.

Total has sold stakes in 11 onshore Nigerian blocks to local firms since 2010.

The company said the divestments are in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria's plan of developing local firms in the sector.

BlackRock and First Reserve to buy stakes in two Mexican pipelines

BlackRock and First Reserve agreed to acquire a 45% stake in two Mexican natural gas pipelines, owned by state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

The 744km of pipelines, Los Ramones Phase II North and Los Ramones Phase II South, are expected to be operational by mid-2016.

The pipelines will serve the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas, US, to meet central Mexico's increasing demand for natural gas.


Gulf Keystone restarts production at Shaikan oilfield in Iraq

gulf

Gulf Keystone Petroleum restarted production and truck loading operations at its Shaikan oilfield in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The operations were resumed at both of the company's production facilities, PF-1 and -2.

The company received pre-payment of $ 26m for future Shaikan crude oil sales on 25 February 2015.

Korea National Oil Corporation contracts KS Drilling subsidiary for drilling services in Kurdistan

Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) awarded a contract to Atlantic Onshore Services, a subsidiary of KS Drilling, to carry out drilling services in Kurdistan, Iraq.

Apart from drilling services, the new contract also includes charter of KS Discoverer 1, the group's (KS Energy together with its subsidiaries) 1,500HP onshore drilling rig.

Drilling work is expected to be initiated in early second quarter of 2015 and it would continue until the completion of one well, which is expected to take 150 days.

Gazprom Neft to carry out seismic survey in Halabja block, Iraq

Halabja block, Iraq

Gazprom Neft Middle East announced plans to carry out a 2D seismic survey on the south-eastern section of the Halabja block in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The company is currently transferring the technical equipment and personnel needed for the survey from the south-western section, where it has already completed a survey spanning 225 linear km.

2D seismic surveys covering about 870km are due to be carried out on the Halabja block by the end of 2015.

Ineos and IGas Energy ink farm-out deal

Petrochemicals firm Ineos and IGas Energy signed a farm-out and purchase agreement, under which the former will acquire interest in the latter's seven shale gas licences in the North West of England.

As per the terms of the agreement, Ineos will acquire a 50% interest in IGas' licences: PEDL, 147, 184, 189, and 190 in the North West, and a 60% interest in IGas' licences: PEDL 145, 193 and EXL 273, which are collectively known as the Bowland Licences.

The deal also provides Ineos with an option to acquire 20% in PEDL 012 and 200 in the East Midlands.

ExxonMobil restarts drilling at Point Thomson gas-condensate field in Alaska

Exxonmobil

US-based oil and gas firm ExxonMobil restarted drilling at Point Thomson gas-condensate field on Alaska's North Slope.

The field is situated on state acreage along the Beaufort Sea, 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay and 60 miles west of the village of Kaktovik.

The project is expected to produce about 10,000 barrels a day of natural gas condensate and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas a day.