The seventh annual Offshore West Africa Conference and Exhibition, held March 11-13 in Windhoek, Namibia, addressed exploration and development activity through concurrent technical presentations. Industry experts discussed issues from management and planning to deepwater development.
Topics of interest included deepwater prospectivity and development for West Africa from Morocco to South Africa. Recent seismic and soon-to-be drilled prospects are expected to confirm further elephant discoveries in these areas. Plus, independent operators are developing lower prospectivity, higher-risk acreage with potentially exciting discoveries.
West Africa is expected to play a major role in the world oil supply, in particular the supply to the US. OPEC quotas are proving to be a significant challenge for Nigeria, requiring a balancing act between its joint ventures and deepwater development opportunities. In spite of this, significant deepwater prospects are proceeding through development; however, the potential for delayed projects is high. Thus, floating LPG, LNG, and GTL developments are favored options for Nigeria's gas utilization. The country's no flaring stance post-2008 is stimulating the industry to assess LPG, LNG, and gas-to-electricity utilization of gas. Further, Nigeria's leadership in gas utilization is a catalyst to other West African countries with several potential LNG plans being considered and significant cooperation between countries on major gas trunklines.
Country-to-country cooperation is encouraging exploration and development in Namibia, Angola, and South Africa, too. Stability in Angola is a catalyst to increasing production from 900,000 b/d in 2002 to an estimated production of 1.5 MMbbl/d in 2006. A 4 million ton/year LNG plant is due onstream in 2007, and a 200,000 b/d refinery is under construction. Expenditures of $17 billion on offshore development are forecast through 2006.
With exploration and production increasing offshore West Africa, ABS forecasts that 30 FPSOs will be required in the next five years. The FPSOs offshore West Africa, experiencing environmental conditions less severe than the Gulf of Mexico, are not necessarily clones of those that would be used in the GoM. West African FPSOs are more of a derivative between those of the North Sea and what could be approved for use in the GoM. Many of the offshore West Africa vessels have significant water injection capability and gas compression resulting in larger and heavier modules than those familiar to the GoM.
Conference management company PennWell awarded the following presenters at Offshore West Africa Conference in Namibia. Gbenga Ajenifuja of Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd. won the Young Author award for Erha System Integration Test – Case Study. Thierry Romanet of Metravib RDS won the Technical Content award for Temperature, Fatigue Monitoring of the Girassol Riser Towers and Export Lines. Agnes Jikelo of Petroleum Agency SA won the Presentation award for Petroleum Prospectivity of the Deepwater Southern Part of the Orange Basin, South Africa, and Dele Olaoye of ChevronTexaco won the same award for Working Your HSE MS Talks where the Rubber Hits the Road.