September's top stories: pipeline explosion kills 26 as oil is discovered in Oman

While a Pemex pipeline explosion tragically killed 26, four Chevron employees were arrested on corruption charges and Tethys Oil discovered oil in Oman. wraps up the key headlines from September 2012.

Chevron employees arrested on corruption charges in Indonesia


Four employees of Chevron Pacific Indonesia, a subsidiary of US oil and gas group Chevron, were detained by government authorities regarding alleged corruption concerning an environmental remediation project in Sumatra, Indonesia, at the end of September.

The environmental remediation project in the oil-rich Riau province was set up to remove toxic substances secreted into the soil after drilling by Chevron.

The Indonesian attorney-general's office alleges the project has not been carried out properly and contractors were not appointed in the correct manner.

Soco's plans in Congo's national park face British opposition


London-based Soco International's plans to explore oil in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Virunga National Park are facing stiff opposition from the British Government.

The government is believed to have conveyed its decision to Soco and also requested that the Congolese Government respects international conventions.

"Foreign investments in sectors such as hydrocarbons ... can play a vital role in boosting development of the DRC ... Such investment needs to be done responsibly and sustainably, in compliance with local law and conforming to international standards," said a statement from the British Foreign Office.

Tethys Oil discovers oil in Oman


Tethys Oil discovered a 36m gross oil column at exploration well B4EW3 on Block 4 in Oman.

Drilling operations have been completed at the well, where initial flow test showed the well flowed at a rate of 2,400 BOPD of 30 degree API from the Khufai formation.

The company drilled a 400m long horizontal section in the Khufai. The well has been connected to the production facilities at the Saiwan East oil field for a long-term production test.

26 killed in Pemex gas pipeline fire


Mexico's state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) reported 26 deaths in September as a fire erupted at a natural gas pipeline distribution centre near Mexico's border with the US.

As well as killing maintenance workers the fire forced evacuations of people in nearby ranches and homes, injured 46 other workers and left two hospitalised in serious condition.

The company said the fire was extinguished in 90 minutes and the pipeline, which distributes natural gas from wells in the Burgos basin, was shutdown.

BowLeven to begin oil exploration in Kenya


UK-based oil explorer BowLeven unveiled plans to begin oil exploration in Kenya this month, after acquiring a 50% stake in onshore exploration block 11b from Adamantine Energy.

The company will invest a total of $10m to undertake exploration services in block 11b, which is spread across 14,000km.

The block covers the Loeli, Lotikipi, Gatome and South Gatome basins, north of the Lokichar basin.

Chesapeake Energy to sell Permian basin assets for $6.9bn


Chesapeake Energy in September signed multiple agreements to sell all of its midstream assets and certain noncore leaseholds located in the US Permian basin, for a total consideration of $6.9bn.

Part of the net proceeds from the sale will be used to fully repay the company's $4bn term loans.

The assets being sold produced approximately 21,000 barrels of liquids and 90 million cubic feet of natural gas each day during the second quarter of 2012.

SWEPI, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, will acquire assets in the southern Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin, Chevron U.S.A will acquire assets in the northern Delaware Basin portion and affiliates of US-based EnerVest will acquire producing assets in the Midland Basin portion, pursuant to three separate purchase and sale agreements totalling $3.3bn.

Sonde Resources encounters gas pay at Canada's Montney well

Sonde Resources encountered high permeability of gas at the 4-19-67-26W5 HZ well in the Ante Creek North area of western Canada.

"This is the company's first Montney exploration well and a production test was conducted for five days."

This is the company's first Montney exploration well and a production test was conducted for five days. The well has been drilled and cased to a measured depth of 3,350m and was stimulated using a ball-drop system with eight stages of gelled propane.

After recovering 54% of load propane at the completion of the flow back period, the well flowed at rates averaging 1,200bbl fluid plus 1.8MMcf total gas each day, with formation hydrocarbon rates of 120bbl of 41.6API gravity oil plus 1.3MMcf gas (334 boe / day).

BP unveils laboratory for fuel testing in Australia


BP in early September unveiled a new $11m laboratory complex equipped with fuel testing facilities at the Kwinana refinery near Perth in Australia.

The $50m G10 project, which was completed in mid-2011, will allow the company to increase its production of low-sulphur diesel.

BP's new lab features a $2.5m air handling system, which includes fume protection cupboards and a separate analyser workshop.