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Hess, Toreador gear up for Paris shale-oil drilling

A rig will be mobilised within weeks and the first two wells drilled by spring 2011

TOREADOR Resources is preparing a drilling programme at its Paris basin shale-oil concession, in northern France. The Paris-based firm says a rig will be mobilised within weeks and the first two wells drilled by spring 2011. Four additional wells will be drilled over the course of the year.

The company, which is working with US independent Hess to develop the basin’s shale-oil deposits, is aiming for eventual production of 0.5m barrels for each well, or around 400 barrels a day (b/d). Toreador is looking to begin producing by the second quarter of the year.

In October, Toreador claimed there could be 100bn barrels of oil in the Paris basin. If true, it would be one of the biggest finds in the world. Even recoverable reserves, using existing methods of production, amount to 0.6bn barrels, the firm says.

The firm’s acreage also contains 9.1m barrels of conventional-oil reserves, although it says these are “not as important” as the shale oil. Toreador produces around 900 b/d of conventional oil from the basin.

Hess paid $15m to become co-holder of Toreador’s exploration permits in France and will invest up to $120m in the project over the next five years. Hess, which also has around 0.5m acres in the Bakken shale-oil play in the US, signed an agreement with PetroChina in September 2010 to develop shale oil resources in China’s Daqing oilfield.

Toreador has 0.65m acres and an additional 0.65m acres pending award in the Paris basin, to the east of the French capital.

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