West Africa

The government of Equatorial Guinea is in the final stages of licensing talks with several major oil companies for prospects on offer off the coast of Rio Muni and Bioki Island. Triton, Mobil, United Meridian, and CMS Nomeco have all expressed interest in the prospects. The prospects range from marginal near shore blocks to areas of water depths up to 5000 feet. It is believed that the better prospects lie in the central region and in the deep water areas.

New blocks on offer in Equatorial Guinea

The government of Equatorial Guinea is in the final stages of licensing talks with several major oil companies for prospects on offer off the coast of Rio Muni and Bioki Island. Triton, Mobil, United Meridian, and CMS Nomeco have all expressed interest in the prospects. The prospects range from marginal near shore blocks to areas of water depths up to 5000 feet. It is believed that the better prospects lie in the central region and in the deep water areas.

New pipelines in the Gulf of Guinea

Installation is being planned for two major pipelines in the Gulf of Guinea. UMC is planning a crude oil pipeline that will link the Block CI-11 fields to a refinery on the coast of Abidjan. Another UMC pipeline is planned from the Kudu Field (Block CI-01) to deliver gas to Abidjan and Ghana power generation stations. A connection will be installed linking the two that will center on the Abidjan refinery. Chevron has also signed a letter of intent for a third pipeline in the area that will supply natural gas from Nigeria to Ghana. This pipeline will begin in the Escravos area of Nigeria and will flow through Benin and Togo to a plant in southwestern Ghana.

Operators confirm potential of Girassol

Sonangol and Elf have confirmed potential of the Girassol Field located in deepwater Angola. A production test was run from appraisal well Girassol 2A showing a cumulative daily flow rate of 18,000 barrels of oil on two reservoirs of good quality. The structure composed of two oil bearing reservoirs, was discovered in April 1996 in a water depth of 4,625 feet on Block 17, located 200 km northwest of Luanda. The results of the tests confirm the potential of the structure and a deviated well, Girassol 2B, is now in progress.

New discovery off Equatorial Guinea

United Meridian and Mobil Equatorial Guinea have announced the successful completion of Sereptina #1, a new field discovery offshore Equatorial Guinea. The well, located approximately 2.5 miles northeast of the Jade #1 discovery well and approximately five miles northeast of the Zafiro/Opalo Field complex, has tested 6,155 barrels of oil per day from two intervals. The well was drilled by the Atwood Eagle rig which is currently testing an ocean floor mound in the northeastern portion of the region.

Amenam-Kpono decision still to come

A verdict should be decided within the next few months on the fate of the Amenam and Kpono Fields offshore Nigeria. The dispute, between Elf and Mobil, concerns who will produce the fields and how the production will be carried out. Reserves for the area have been estimated at around 400 million barrels with a 100,000 b/d oil possible output for the first phase of development. Elf's claim is that over 80% of reserves are located in Elf's block. Mobil is making a separate claim that they could produce the field cheaply using existing equipment at their nearby Epke Field. Elf has rebutted this claim however, by proposing a development plan that requires only two wells as compared to their original plan of three which would be cheaper than Mobil's plan. Another problem delaying the negotiations is the persistent failure of NNPC to meet its cash call obligations for development and exploration. This problem has caused many operators to delay work schedules and reduce company E&P budgets. This could stall negotiations until NNPC has met its obligations. However, Elf and the Nigerian government have both indicated that a decision will be finalized by the end of the year.

Apache signs 10-yr Côte d'Ivoire gas contract

Apache has announced the signing of a 10-year-take-or-pay contract to supply approximately 200 billion cubic feet of natural gas to an electric power plant in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire beginning in 1999. This contract makes the Foxtrot gas field in Block C-27, offshore Céte d'Ivoire commercially viable. The Foxtrot Field contains three wells that tested a combined 115 Mmcf of gas per day and 1,350 barrels of condensate per day with estimated reserves of 600 billion cubic feet.

Ranger consortium signs for Block CI-102

Ranger Oil of Canada is heading a consortium that has just signed a contract with Côte d'Ivoire for Block CI-102. Under the contract, Ranger will operate the block for the consortium which includes: Energy Africa, Clyde Expro, Gentry Resources, TC Petroleum, and PETROCI. The license is located in shallow water between Block CI-26 containing the Espoir Field, operated by Addax, and CI-24 containing the Belier Field, operated by Santa Fe, and covers approximately 800 sq. km. The block was originally awarded to Elf for a preliminary six month study period last September.

Shell Nigeria taken hostage

Feuding Nigerian villagers involved in a dispute with a Niger Delta local government, overran six of Shell's local flowstations near Warri in the west Niger Delta on March 22. 126 staff and contractors, all Nigerians, were held captive by Ijaw tribesmen as they protested the relocation of their local government headquarters from the Ijaw area. The captors, who came with trained personnel in shutting the stations down, successfully closed all six stations during the siege. The assailants wanted Shell to transmit their complaints to the government. The hostages, which were released after less than a week of capture, reported being beaten and threatened with death. Shell has completed the re-opening of the flow stations, but the economic impact of the closure will linger for some time. The closure shut in up to 210,000 barrels of crude a day and is expected to cause delays lasting through April.

This siege has made Shell, as well as the entire country, very apprehensive about the safety of operations in Nigeria. It is being called the return of the "Ogoni Syndrome", named after the success of the Ogoni tribe in attacking Shell in 1993. There is a fear that other communities are preparing other campaigns against oil companies and can threaten the whole Nigerian oil industry.

Copyright 1997 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.

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