Global E&P Briefs

April 24, 2023
A compilation of the latest offshore exploration and production updates and projects from around the world

Editor's note: This Global E&P section first appeared in the March-April issue of Offshore magazine. Click here to view the full issue.

By Jeremy Beckman, London


The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management aims to stage Gulf of Mexico oil and gas Lease Sale 261 in September. This would offer around 13,620 blocks spanning 73.4 million acres across the Western Central and Eastern planning areas of the US Outer Continental Shelf. Companies would need to submit bids the day prior to the event.

Shell has started production from the Vito semisubmersible platform in the Mississippi Canyon, 10 mi (16 km) south of the company’s Mars TLP. The four-column facility, moored in over 4,000 ft (1,220 m) of water will at peak deliver 100,000 boe/d via eight subsea wells with gas lift. Production is exported through Shell Midstream’s Mars Pipeline system.

Williams has agreed to provide offshore gas gathering and oil transportation services for Chevron’s Ballymore development, a three-well subsea tieback to the Blind Faith platform, 160 mi south-east of New Orleans. Williams will use existing connections to Blind Faith, which is designed to receive 75,000 b/d of crude.


Eni has discovered oil in the Yatzil prospect 65 km offshore in Mexico’s Sureste basin. The semisub Valaris DPS-5 drilled the Yatzil-1 EXP well in Block 7 in 284 m of water, encountering good quality oil in Upper Miocene sequences. Initial analysis suggests an in-place resource of around 200 MMboe.

Repsol has commissioned DORIS to perform scoping studies for the development of two discoveries in Mexico’s Block 29, 88 km from the state of Tabasco. Chinwol and Polok are 16 km apart, in water depths ranging from 460-600 m. DORIS’ conceptual engineering work relates to the subsea production/SURF systems.


TotalEnergies and partner APA Corp. continue appraisal drilling in Block 58 offshore Suriname, with two wells recently in progress on the Krabdagu discovery. Earlier, operations finished on their second appraisal well on Sapakura South, now estimated to contain more than 200 MMbbl in place.


Petrobras and Shell signed a memorandum of understanding at CERA Week in Houston last month concerning a potential five-year collaboration. This could include jointly assessing upstream opportunities, and exploration both in and beyond the Brazilian presalt, notably the Equatorial Margin.


Genel Energy has signed an eight-year exploration agreement for the Lagzira (formerly Sidi Moussa) block offshore Morocco with state-owned ONHYM. Lagzira is in 200-1,200 m water depth: Genel’s SM-1 well on the concession in 2014 recovered oil from Jurassic reservoirs, and the company has since identified new plays and multiple 100-700-MMbbl prospects based on broadband 3D seismic acquired in 2018.  It aims to bring in a partner to co-fund drilling and testing of one of the stand-out prospects.


BP and its co-venturers will assess a gravity-based structure (GBS) as the basis for the Greater Tortue Ahymeyim (GTA) Phase 2 expansion project offshore Mauritania and Senegal. They are targeting LNG production capacity in the range 2.5-3 MMt/yr. The GBS will have a static connection to the seabed and will provide LNG storage and a foundation for liquefaction facilities, with new wells and subsea equipment expanding the existing infrastructure, 120 km offshore and in 2,850 m of water.


Equatorial Guinea’s government has awarded production-sharing contracts for three offshore blocks. Panoro Energy will operate Block EG-01 in partnership with Kosmos Energy and state-owned GEPetrol: main hydrocarbon plays are Eocene sands and Upper Cretaceous turbidites with potential for tiebacks to nearby facilities at the Ceiba and Okume fields. Africa Oil signed PSCs for offshore blocks EG-18 and EG-31, and sees potential for gas discoveries in shallow water, with production potentially sent to the Punta Europa LNG terminal on Bioko Island.


Azule Energy, the joint venture between bp and Eni in Angola, has issued subsea engineering contracts for the Agogo Integrated West Hub development in offshore block 15/06. Baker Hughes will provide the production system, including 23 of the company’s standard subsea trees and 11 Aptara manifolds. TechnipFMC will supply jumpers, flowlines, rises and ancillaries, while Aker Solutions will manufacture 36 km of dynamic and static production control umbilicals in Moss, Norway. Subsea 7 will fabricate associated structures in Lobito, also installing the umbilicals and flexible pipes in 1,700 m water depth. Yinson Holdings will supply the FPSO and perform operations/maintenance following start-up.


Shell and partners QatarEnergy and NAMCOR have continued their run of deepwater drilling successes in the Orange basin off Namibia, proving light oil with the Jonker-1X well in Block 2913A. TotalEnergies and its co-venturers should by now have started their second drilling campaign in the same basin, starting with an appraisal well and DST on last year’s Venus oil discovery.


Equinor has achieved two successive commercial discoveries close to its Troll production complex in the Norwegian North Sea. Rover Sor and Heisenberg, in water depths of 348-368 m, could collectively hold 41-131 MMboe recoverable. The company and its partners are working on a coordinated development (Ringvei Vest) of these and six other finds in the area dating back to 2019, and thought to contain potentially up to 350 Mboe.

In the UK sector Equinor has agreed to pay Suncor Energy $850 million for its British E&P subsidiary. The transaction would give Equinor a near-30% interest in Buzzard in the central North Sea, one of the UK’s largest producing oilfields; and an additional 40% in the deepwater Rosebank oil and gas development west of Shetland, where the company and partner Ithaca are targeting FID this year.

Shell’s recent gas/light oil discovery on the Pensacola prospect, drilled by the jackup Noble Resilient, has opened a new Zechstein carbonate play, according to partner Deltic Energy. Initial analysis indicates 302 bcf recoverable.


Eni and state-owned NOC have committed to develop the Structures A and E fields in Libya’s offshore contractual area D. They plan to commission two new platforms that will be connected to treatment facilities at the onshore Mellitah complex, and a new carbon capture and storage facility nearby to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. Production should begin in 2026, rising to a peak of 750 MMcf/d.


Allseas will deploy its Solitaire and Oceanic vessels for phase one of the Chevron-operated Tamar gasfield expansion project offshore Israel. They will lay around 150 km of 20-in. pipeline from the field to the existing Tamar platforms, along with umbilicals and various subsea structures.


PGS has completed acquisition of 12,278-line km of 2D seismic over the West and Southwest areas offshore Crete, for licensees ExxonMobil and Helleniq Energy. The two blocks are in an unexplored area thought to be prospective for gas.


The semisub Heydar Aliev has spud the SDX-8 exploration well for bp on the eastern flank of the Shah Deniz gasfield in the Azerbaijani sector. Operations to the TD of 7,000 m could last for a year: the goals include an improved understanding of the drillability and resource potential beneath the currently producing reservoirs.

Lukoil has discovered a new gas-condensate field in the Russian sector, provisionally named Khazri but likely to be re-named after one of the company’s founders, Ravil Naganov. In the Kazakh sector, Lukoil has signed agreements with KazUmayGas concerning the Kalamkas-Sea, Kazar and Auezov area development.


TotalEnergies has agreed to acquire CEPSA’s upstream interests in the UAE. These comprise 20% of the offshore concessions Satah Al Razboot, Umm Lulu, Bin Nasher and Al Bateel, operated by ADNOC Offshore; and a 12.88% indirect interest in the Mubarraz concession, which contains four producing offshore fields.


Energean has produced gas from its shallow-water North El Amriya and North Idku development in the Gulf of Suez offshore Egypt, part of a package that came with the company’s acquisition of Italy’s Edison. Four subsea wells tied back to the North Abu Qir PIII platform will eventually produce up to 20,000 boe/d.


Tanzania is reportedly looking to achieve FID for a new LNG terminal in the south-east Lindi region in2025. The Energy Ministry is said to have completed negotiations on the construction with Equinor and Shell, operators of three offshore blocks containing over 36 tcf of discovered gas.


CNOOC has discovered light oil with the BZ26-6-2 well on the Bozhong 26-2 field in the southern Bohai Sea off eastern China. This was the company’s third oilfield discovery in the area following Kenli 6-1 and Kenli 10-2, the main oil-bearing play being the Archean buried hill.


Malaysia and Marine Heavy Engineering (MMHE) has an EPCI contract from Carigali-PTTEP Operating Company for Phase 6 of the JDA offshore project in the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area. The scope includes construction of five wellhead platforms, each weighing around 2,000 metric tons, for installation in 55-65 m of water in the B-17-01 area of the southern Gulf of Thailand; and five subsea pipelines and tie-ins to host facilities.

Petronas has opened the Malaysia Bid Round 2023, with 10 exploration blocks offered in the producing Malay, Sarawak and Sabah basins and in the newly opened Penyu basin. Also on offer are two shallow-water clusters close to production hubs: Chenang DNO off Peninsular Malaysia and Bambazon DRO.