The Ministry of Resources, Mines, and Petroleum of Côte d'Ivoire has announced that it will open up the country's deepwater sector to exploration and development by international operators. Selected deepwater blocks said to harbor potential oil reserves in excess of 5 billion bbl are expected to go on offer in September. Ghana has signed an E&P agreement with Hunt Oil for the Western Cape Three Points Basin. Hunt plans a seismic shoot right away over the area, which lies between
Côte d'Ivoire to offer deepwater blocks
The Ministry of Resources, Mines, and Petroleum of Côte d'Ivoire has announced that it will open up the country's deepwater sector to exploration and development by international operators. Selected deepwater blocks said to harbor potential oil reserves in excess of 5 billion bbl are expected to go on offer in September.
Ghana expanding its exploration & development
Ghana has signed an E&P agreement with Hunt Oil for the Western Cape Three Points Basin. Hunt plans a seismic shoot right away over the area, which lies between the Tano and Saltpond Basins.
On the east side of its aquatory, Ghana's Tano Fields development financing has been okayed by the US Export-Import Bank, at $316 million to Ghana National Petroleum Corp. Some $253 million of that amount will go to drilling and completion of wells, pipelines and platforms. It will be Ghana's first offshore gas project.
Abacan acquires Benin & Côte d'Ivoire blocks
The Canadian operator, Abacan Resource Corp. has signed two separate agreements acquiring two new offshore blocks in West Africa. First was Block 1 in Benin aquatory, which contains the Seme Field, just west of Abacan's deepwater exploration well Aje 1 in Nigerian Block 309. It was a 50% interest bought from Addax Petroleum. Second was a 20% interest in Côte d'Ivoire Block CI-26, where the Espoir Field is located.
Gabon effectively withdraws from OPEC
The long anticipated exit of Gabon from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has finally occurred. OPEC's smallest member, Gabon had tried numerous times to persuade the organization to establish membership fees that are proportionate to a country's oil production, but to no avail. It had also not paid its membership dues for several years, finding them too burdensome and a strain on the country's economy.
Angola is rapidly recovering from civil war
The shaky peace between the central government of Angola and the UNITA guerrilla organization, as well as the truce with the Cabinda separatists are holding, but only time will tell if they will endure. The economic recovery of the country is paying off, in that a surge of foreign investments, primarily from oil companies and oil-field service companies is at a height - Halliburton, for example, recently invested $200 million in the country, and Chevron is in the middle of a massive $680 million investment there. In addition, Chevron, Elf, Agip, and the central Angolan government have agreed to give $72 million a year to the Cabinda authorities to be spent on local developments that will improve the lives of Cabindan citizens.
Shell Namibia well to spud in June
The semi Petrobras XVI is currently drilling ahead in a sidetrack on a well for Chevron offshore Namibia. The well is expected to be finished in about a month and then the rig is due to go to Shell in Namibia to drill what will probably be a three-month well. Thereafter Chevron has a one-well extension option but for the moment the rig remains available.
Congo's N'Kossa Field goes on production
In early June, West Africa's development at the greatest water depth (560 ft), the Elf-operated N'Kossa Field, went into production. It is expected to be producing more than 100,000 b/d oil by yearend from some 14 wells, and 120,000 b/d at peak production early next year. N'Kossa's high quality crude is comparable to Brent. Liquefied petroleum gas will also be produced from the field beginning in November.
West African rig activity up 43.1% for year
The West African rig market continues to boom, with a SCORE of 54.4% of new construction dayrates in May, up 7.4% from April. This represents a 43.1% gain for the year and 19% increase over five years ago.
Agip is reviewing tenders for a deepwater semisubmersible to work both Mediterranean and West African prospects, and Elf is seeking tenders for provision of a cantilever jackup to drill probably 24 wells on two wellhead platforms on its Ofon Field development offshore Nigeria. The rig contract involves a 21-month firm period starting in mid-1997 plus a 12-month extension option. Water depth is 200 ft.
Elf is negotiating an extension of its contract with Reading & Bates for the Jim Cunningham semisubmersible for deepwater drilling operations in West Africa to begin in October, mostly in Angola. A second deepwater rig is also being sought for work principally in the Congo at depths of 1,100 meters beginning in 1997.
United Meridian has fixed three rigs for its Côte d'Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea drilling programs, the jackup Glomar Adriatic IV for five wells plus two off Côte d'Ivoire, and the Glomar Adriatic X for both Côte d'Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea beginning in November - it's now in Angola for total. Last minute negotiations are underway with Santa Fe for the Compact Driller jackup in August, also for Côte d'Ivoire.
Agip is expected to keep the Scarabeo 4 once it has completed operations on the Congo Kitina Field for an additional six one-well options for further Kitina exploration and development drilling. Shell is presently subletting the rig for a Congo well later this year.
The Saipem jackup Perro Negro has arrived in Nigeria to drill the Bella Field, and the Ocean Liberator has completed its two-well program for Ashland in Nigeria and is now enroute to Gabon for an Amoco well, thereafter it will move to Côte d'Ivoire for an Apache well in Block CI-27, then return to Nigeria to continue its work for Ashland with four additional wells.
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