Strong gas shows at third South Belridge well: Orchard

ORCHARD Petroleum says the second well at the South Belridge Project in California's San Joaquin Basin has reached total depth and recorded strong gas and oil shows.

The Melbourne-headquartered company today said its SB 6-12 well had reached a total depth of 4412 feet (1345m) with strong gas and oil shows recorded on the mud log in both the shallow Etchegoin Formation and the deeper Belridge Diatomite.

The latter oil and gas shows are consistent with those seen across the South Belridge acreage position, the company said.

“The added benefit of seeing oil shows in the shallow Etchegoin Formation along with gas was very encouraging,” Orchard said.

“Consideration will be given to developing the potential reserves in the Etchegoin as a separate program to the already established Diatomite development program.”

Orchard said it would complete the well and prepare it for a multi-staged fracture stimulation program of the Diatomite intervals as soon as the fracture stimulation equipment can be arranged.

The Nabors rig was released and was subsequently moved to the site of SB 12-7, the third well in the new 23-well drilling program.

SB 12-7, which spudded on November 27, had reached a depth of 525ft and was setting surface casing. It will also target hydrocarbons in the Diatomite and Etchegoin formations. Target depth is around 5000ft.

Participants in the project are operator Orchard and Maxim TEP, both with a 50% interest in the new wells.

Earlier this month, Orchard announced that it was recommending its shareholders accept Crosby Capital Partners’ revised takeover offer of 81c per share.

Eskdale Petroleum, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crosby Capital, has agreed to make the conditional cash offer, valuing Orchard around $175 million on a fully diluted basis.

But other entities are still buying into Orchard. UBS Nominees and its related bodies corporate increased their substantial shareholding to 11.95% on November 27.