Global E&P

Feb. 1, 2022
Petrobras and four co-venturers have secured production-sharing contracts for the deepwater Atapu and Sépia fields in the Santos basin.

North America

Shell’s newly constructed Vito platform was sailing last month from Singapore to the Gulf of Mexico. Sembcorp Marine built the semisubmersible floating production unit, which will be moored in 1,129 m (4,000 ft) of water at the Vito field in the Mississippi Canyon area, 241 km (150 mi) southeast of New Orleans. The facility will be connected to eight subsea wells. Sembcorp is also fabricating Shell’s Whale FPU.


Lukoil has discovered oil in block 12 offshore Mexico. The Yoti West-1 well, drilled by the semisub Valaris DPS-5, penetrated a sand reservoir in Upper Miocene sediments. Lukoil estimates in-place reserves at 250 MMbbl: Eni is the other partner in the concession.

South America

Rystad Energy expects Colombia’s offshore operators to spend $145 million on exploration this year, and over $200 million in 2023. Those planning wells include Shell (appraisal drilling) and Chevron subsidiary Noble Corp., in the COL-3 block off La Guarija.


ExxonMobil now estimates recoverable resources from the deepwater Stabroek block off Guyana at 10 Bboe, following two further commercial discoveries. The Stena DrillMAX drilled Fangtooth-1 in 1,838 m (6,030 ft) of water, 11 mi (18 km) northwest of the producing Liza field. Lau Lau-1, drilled by another drillship, Noble Don Taylor, is 68 km (42 mi) southeast of Liza in 1,461 m (4,793 ft) water depth.

The company has also submitted plans for the block’s fourth development, Yellowtail, in 1,800 m (5,905 ft) water depth. This will feature new subsea drill centers with oil production, water injection and gas injection wills. Saipem has the EPCI contract for the subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines.


Enauta has provisionally contracted Yinson Holdings to supply, operate, and maintain an FPSO at the Atlanta oilfield in the Santos basin offshore Brazil, under a 15-year time charter. Total value of the award to Yinson, including options, could reach $1.98 billion.


Petrobras and four co-venturers have secured production-sharing contracts for the deepwater Atapu and Sépia fields in the Santos basin. Petrobras now operates Atapu, which started production in 2020, in partnership with Shell and TotalEnergies. They plan to add a second FPSO to increase oil production to 350,000 b/d. At Sépia, which came onstream last year, the partners are TotalEnergies, Petronas, and QatarEnergy. Here too a second floater will be added, with a similar production target.

Búzios remains the basin and Petrobras’ largest oil-producing field and the facilities continue to expand. For the Búzios-6 project, the company has awarded TechnipFMC an EPCI assignment, which includes the flexible and rigid pipelines and the mooring system for the newbuild FPSO. Saipem has the SURF contract for Búzios-7, covering a rigid-steel lazy-wave riser-based subsea system and associated flowlines connecting 15 subsea wells to the FPSO. The FDS will install the risers in 2,000 m (6,562 ft) of water, 200 km (124 mi) from the Rio de Janeiro state coastline.


Navitas has affirmed its commitment to offshore projects in the North Falkland basin after Harbour Energy’s decision to exit its licenses in the area, which include the Sea Lion oil development. Navitas and remaining partner Rockhopper Exploration will work on an alternative plan for Sea Lion to deliver first oil faster and at lower costs, with Navitas operating the project on completion.

West Africa

Results from recent drilling on the Anchois gas field offshore Morocco were above expectations, according to operator Chariot Energy. The Anchois-2 well, drilled by the semisub Stena Don in 381 m (1,250 ft) of water on the Lixus license, delivered over 100 m (328 ft) of net pay, compared with 55 m (180 ft) from Dana Petroleum’s 2010 discovery well. Both wells could be retained as producers for the planned development.


Two majors have started up subsea tiebacks in deepwater offshore Angola. In block 18, the bp-operated Platina (44 MMbbl) should add 30,000 b/d to production through the FPSO Greater Plutonio. TotalEnergies’ CLOV Phase 2, 149 km (87 mi) offshore, is a seven-well tieback to the FPSO CLOV, with peak production of 40,000 b/d anticipated later this year.

Chevron subsidiary CABGOC has signed a 25-year extension to its operated block O concession offshore Cabinda, northern Angola.


Shell has reportedly discovered liquids in the Cretaceous interval of the Graff-1 well in block 2913A in the Orange basin off Namibia. Water depths in the area are close to 2,000 m (6,562 ft).

Toronto-based Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas has entered an agreement to acquire interests held by Namibian E&P company Azinam in various deepwater and shallow-water blocks off Namibia and South Africa. One of these, block 3B/4B, is directly south of Graff-1.

Northwest Europe

Spirit Energy, the E&P subsidiary of UK-based Centrica, has agreed to sell its full Norwegian portfolio. Equinor will acquire Spirit’s interests in the Statfjord field area of the North Sea, while upcoming Norwegian independent Sval Energi will take on all Spirit’s remaining operations and assets offshore Norway, including seven producing fields. The deal, valued at over $1 billion, should raise Sval’s production to 60,000 boe/d in 2023.                

The boards of Aker BP and Lundin Energy have agreed to merge their Norwegian oil and gas operations. Assuming shareholder, partner and government approvals, the combined E&P group will have production of more than 400,000 boe/d with potential to grow above 500,000 boe/d by 2028 through new field developments. Aker BP and partners Equinor and Spirit have also authorized the $364-million development of the Hanz oil and gas field in the North Sea via a tie-in to the Ivar Aasen platform, 12 km (7.5 mi) to the south.

Mediterranean Sea/Middle East

ExxonMobil and QatarEnergy have signed an exploration and production sharing contract with the Republic of Cyprus for offshore block 5, in water depths of up to 2,500 m (8,202 ft). The duo are also partners in the Glaucus gas discovery in offshore block 10, recently appraised by the drillship Stena Forth.


Eni secured three new offshore exploration licenses under Egypt’s 2021 International Bid Round for Exploration and Exploitation. Two are in the eastern Mediterranean Sea (one being a 50:50 venture with bp), while the other is for Gulf of Suez block EGY-GOS-13, via the IEOC joint venture. All the concessions are said to be in prolific basins with proven petroleum systems.


The Middle East’s three leading NOCs have each issued construction contracts for expansion projects at offshore field centers. McDermott’s EPCI award from Saudi Aramco includes the supply and installation of four drilling jackets and seven production deck modules for the Abu Safa’h, Ribyan, Safaniya and Zuluf fields offshore Saudi Arabia, along with subsea pipelines, cables and tie-ins to existing facilities. Installation should start later this year.

ADNOC has awarded NPCC in Abu Dhabi a $946-million EPC contract for Phase 1 of the long-term development of the Umm Shaif field offshore the UAE, which started production in 1962. The two packages cover modifications to and extension of existing offshore facilities (including new subsea cables and pipelines); and three new wellhead towers and associated pipelines that will accommodate rigless electrical submersible pumps and other digital field technologies.

Finally, QatarEnergy has handed McDermott an offshore EPCI contract for the North Field Expansion project in the Persian Gulf, designed to raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 126 MMt/yr. McDermott’s scope includes 13 normally unmanned wellhead platform topsides, over 500 km (300 mi) of connecting pipelines, and over 225 km (140 mi) of 33-kV subsea cables. Construction will take place at QFAB in Qatar and Batam, Indonesia.


ADNOC has also contracted Technip Energies to update the FEED for its offshore Ghasha sour gas project, the brief including optimizing costs and advancing the integration of carbon capture into the development. And in partnership with Abu Dhabi National Energy, ADNOC has commissioned a consortium comprising Korea Electric Power, Kyushu Electric Power, and EDF to develop an HVDC subsea transmission system. This will connect ADNOC’s offshore production operations to Abu Dhabi’s onshore power grid, operated by TAQA.


TotalEnergies has taken the first steps to exiting the Yadana gas field project in the Andaman Sea offshore Myanmar, which it developed in the late 1990s and has operated ever since. The facilities include various platforms in blocks M5 and M6 for production, compression and living quarters; a 346-km (215-mi) subsea pipeline transporting the gas to the shore; and a 63-km (39-mi) onshore pipeline taking around 70% of Yadana’s annual 6 bcm of production across the border to the Thai domestic sector. TotalEnergies said it based its decision on human rights abuses following Myanmar’s coup in February 2021, which led the company to halt work on all its other ongoing projects in the country. It will withdraw fully from Yadana once the partners have agreed on a replacement operator.


Two of Malaysia’s most prolific drillers have achieved further discoveries offshore Sarawak. Petronas’s Hadrah-1 exploration well on SK411 170 km (106 mi) off northwest Sarawak in shallow water encountered gas in a 200-m (656-ft) thick sequence of sandstone and carbonate reservoirs. PTTEP’s Nangka-1 well, 90 km (56 mi) offshore and in shallow water, delivered sweet gas from a Miocene clastic reservoir. It was the second find on the block following last years’ Dokong-1.

PTTEP has extended the charter of the FPSO Kikeh by six years until January 2028. The vessel is owned by a joint venture company between MISC and SBM Holdings: it can produce 120,000 b/d of oil with a storage capacity of 2 MMbbl.


CNOOC has started production from two developments offshore China. For the Caofeidian 11-6 oil field expansion project in western Bohai Sea, the company installed a new unmanned wellhead platform in 23 m (75 ft) of water connected to existing processing facilities serving the field. Later this year, the development should add oil production of 4,600 b/d via seven new production wells and two water injectors.

In the southern Bohai Sea, another new unmanned wellhead platform in 15 m (40 ft) of water is in service, connected to processing facilities for the Kenli-10 oilfields. Here plans call for 16 producers, seven water injectors and peak production of around 7,500 b/d.


TGS has started reprocessing seismic data over the East Java Sea off Indonesia. The program, designed to support exploration in the South Makassar and Northeast Java regions, involves use of 2D-cubed technology (which can generate a 3D seismic volume from 2D lines). The goal is to create a dataset that will combine over 120,000 km (46,332 sq mi) of 2D data from over 80 legacy surveys with data from 88 wells. Coverage includes blocks included under the 2nd 2021 Indonesian License Round.

KUFPEC has made its first operated exploration discovery offshore Indonesia with the Anambas-2X well on the Anambas block in the Natuna Sea. The well, drilled in 8 m (288 ft) of water, delivered 7 MMcf/d of gas and 1,240 b/d of condensate from two initial drillstem tests.


Woodside has taken final investment decisions on the development of the 11.1-tcf Scarborough gas field offshore northwest Australia and the onshore Pluto LNG Train 2, which will receive the production. The estimated overall cost is $12 billion, with the first LNG cargo targeted for 2026. McDermott will design, construct, and install the floating production unit, with the 30,000-t topsides to be built at the Qingdao McDermott Wuchuan yard in China. The platform, capable of producing up to 1.8 bcf/d will be in 950 m (3,100 ft) water depth, 400 km (248 mi) offshore, with facilities for separation, dehydration and compression, and will be remotely operated. The Subsea Integration Alliance of OneSubsea and Subsea 7 will supply and install the project’s eight subsea trees and the network of rigid and flexible flowlines, flexible flowline risers and umbilicals.


DSME has a $551-million contract from Chevron to construct the control station for the Jansz-Io compression project, 200 km (124 mi) off northwest Australia and part of the wider Gorgon area development. The normally unattended, floating facility will transmit power from shore to Jansz-Io’s new subsea compression station, designed to maintain long-term supplies to Gorgon LNG and Barrow Island.