BUDAPEST, April 16 Production of unconventional
natural gas at Hungary's Mako Trough could begin at some time
between 2012 and 2014 if exploration is successful, Hungarian
oil and gas firm MOL MOLB.BU said on Wednesday.
MOL said it estimated the Mako Trough in southern Hungary
contained more than 340 billion cubic meters of unconventional
natural gas of which around 30 percent could be successfully
explored over a 30 year period.
"The risk, both geological and technological, involved in
this project is around the same as in other exploration
activities MOL is involved elsewhere," Zoltan Aldott, MOL's
director for upstream activities told a news conference.
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and MOL announced earlier this
month that they purchased part of Falcon Oil's (FO.V) stake in
the Mako Trough.
After the deal, MOL said Exxon Mobil and MOL each controlled
40.44 percent of the Mako Trough, while Falcon Oil held 19.12
Falcon Oil has been exploring the region for years and
discovered natural gas, but said it was unusually hot, very deep
below the surface and required unconventional technologies to
It also needs more gas wells than conventional sources and
is more expensive to produce.
MOL said the entire gas field would need around 2,000 gas
wells and around 50 wells could be drilled per year.
"These gas wells are deeper, more complicated and produce
significantly less (than a conventional field)," Attila Holoda,
MOL's European upstream director said.
The cost of drilling one well was seen at between $8 million
and $12 million, while ground infrastructure was estimated to
cost between $22 million and $28 million.
Once production is under way, the costs are estimated at
around $2 to $3 per barrel of oil equivalent.
"If production is successful, by 2015 we could be producing
as much unconventional gas in Hungary as conventional gas,"
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi, editing by Barbara Lewis)