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Abstract: History of Hydrocarbon Exploration by Shell in East Malaysia

Bee Seng Tan

Shell's east Malaysia hydrocarbon exploration history can be viewed in four phases commencing in 1909. Between 1910 and 1954, 40 onshore exploration wells were drilled, resulting in the Miri discovery.

In 1956, Shell started offshore exploration by acquiring seismic and gravity data in the Baram Delta. The first offshore exploration well was drilled from a fixed platform in 1957. Availability of mobile drilling rigs, modern seismic technology, and exploration success in the 1960s led to increased exploration such that between 1955 and 1975, 167 exploration wells were drilled by Shell, resulting in 19 oil discoveries and 14 gas discoveries.

Petronas changed existing concession and royalties arrangements in 1976 to production sharing contracts (PSC). Under those 1976 PSCs, between 1976 and 1988, Shell drilled 94 exploration wells, resulting in 18 oil discoveries and 12 gas discoveries. In 1985, PSC terms were again changed and Shell subsequently drilled 18 exploration wells, resulting in 2 oil discoveries and 5 gas discoveries.

To date Shell has drilled 319 exploration wells, resulting in 40 oil discoveries and 31 gas discoveries, with total ultimate recoverable reserves of ca. 3 billion bbl of oil and ca. 36 tcf of gas. Twenty-one oil and three gas fields have been developed, producing ca. 234,000 bbl/d of oil and ca. 1.35 bcf/d of gas in 1993.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90982©1994 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 21-24, 1994