West Africa

Ghana goes deepwater Ghana has joined the deepwater foray in West Africa. Undaunted by the discouragingly mixed results coming out of Nigeria in this sector, Ghana has carved out concessions on the continental slope, in deepwater offshore of its disappointing concessions on the shelf. Officials speculate rich source rocks in the cretaceous shales which they suspect is of the same genesis as much of the shale in deepwater Nigeria. The Irish company Dana Petroleum, recently sig

Ghana goes deepwater

Ghana has joined the deepwater foray in West Africa. Undaunted by the discouragingly mixed results coming out of Nigeria in this sector, Ghana has carved out concessions on the continental slope, in deepwater offshore of its disappointing concessions on the shelf. Officials speculate rich source rocks in the cretaceous shales which they suspect is of the same genesis as much of the shale in deepwater Nigeria. The Irish company Dana Petroleum, recently signed a production sharing contract with Ghana to explore a 905 square mile offshore Ghana, which includes deepwater flank of the West Tano Field.

Ghana's deepwater zone plunges farther out to sea than most of the rest of the West African deep offshore.

Meanwhile, activities are picking up in the shallower waters, as Nuevo Energy is working up plans to acquire seismic data in the 1.7 million acre lease in the East Cape Three points prospect area. They plan to drill a first well in 1998.

South Africans arrive

South African upstream company Energy Africa is doing better than window shopping for assets offshore the Gulf of Guinea. They've been caught snooping around in Nigeria, peering into data from offshore Niger Delta, the continent's premium oil basin. Energy Africa has held very preliminary talks with some NNPC joint venture partners and they would like a piece of the action in the marginal fields. (The Nigerian Government has classified, as marginal, more than one hundred fields in the Niger Delta,

most of them belonging to the multinational companies who run joint venture operations with NNPC). Energy Africa's appearance in Nigeria confirms its willingness to cover as much of Africa as possible. Only two months ago it acquired the rights to join 22 existing exploration and six potential development projects in Gabon. Before then the company had solidified an exploration base in Angola ,( with 25% in Shell-operated Block 1, offshore Angola).

They are looking to drill an exploratory well in Block 7 which was relinquished by Elf in 1994. They also have production operations offshore Congo.

World's largest 3D survey

The world's largest single 3D seismic survey as almost concluded. The Norwegian offshore seismic acquisition company PGS has finished 4,900 sq km or 86% of the 5750 sq km program for Amoco in the deepwater Permit Block 18 off Angola. Amoco and Shell each has a 50% stake in this lease which is being operated by Amoco. Block 18 is located south of Block 17 where Elf's huge Girassol Field ( 1.4 billion bbl) is. The first well is scheduled to be spudded in the first half of 1998.

Exxon is shopping for semi sub to spud the first of three wells in Block 15, by July 1997. They've completed an 885 sq km 3-D data acquisition.

Gabon offering deepwater

Gabon has opened up a vast swath of its outer deepwater to potential investors. There are 13 tracts, each ranging from 809 sq km to 15,000 sq km in size and they lie in water depths stretching from 2-4,900 meters, some of the deepest water offshore the Gulf of Guinea. The spec survey will commence here this month(June). And special fiscal economic terms apply.

Seme prospects brighten

Two successful wells offshore Benin Basin in Nigeria have boosted the courage of Calgary-based Abacan Resources to invest in the troubled Seme Field, located in Permit 1, neighboring Benin Republic. The Benin Basin straddles Western Nigeria and Eastern Benin Republic. Until last year, only the Seme Field had been known to be an oil producer in the entire Basin. Even so, the field has gone through several operators just to keep producing and recently been experiencing 75% water cut. Then last year Abacan, on behalf of Indigenous operator Yinka Folawiyo, drilled Aje-1 and- 2, in an offshore lease OPL 309 in the Nigerian flank of the basin. The cumulative flow rates of 13,000 b/d oil from these two wells confirmed that there was another producible pool of oil in the Benin Basin, outside of Seme Field.

Now Abacan has a 50: 50 equity with Addax in Permits 1 and 4. Both companies plan to re-enter Seme-1 and drill an exploratory well in Permit 1. They will also acquire 3,000 km of 2D seismic data in both permits.

Benin farm-in

Profco has farmed into Permit 2 in offshore Benin Basin. They hold 50% . They are hoping to reprocess seismic data, record a bit of 2D seismic data and drill a well by the end of the year.

Another Angolan deep discovery

Elf's Emeraude Platform, Congo. [8,481 bytes]
Chevron has joined the growing list of winners in Angola's deep offshore area. D2-14, its first well in a water depth exceeding 200 metres, was temporarily suspended after testing over 7,500 b/d oil. With this success, Chevron joins Shell (Bengo) and Elf (Girassol). The Angola deep offshore appears to be one of the most prospective along the Gulf of Guinea, and more companies have definitely benefited from their investments there than they have in the deep offshore Niger Delta. Angola's deep offshore play is an extension of its shelf play-The Salt Basin - and for this reason its an easier province for explorationists than the Niger Delta deep offshore, which is much different from the shelf play.

Congo activity up

Elf has completed 750 sq km of 3D survey in Marine X. It is going to appraise the Moho discovery with two wells in lease Haute Mer RC 312. Exxon is planning a 3D survey in 1998 in Mer Profund Nord.

Triton entering Eq. Guinea

Triton has signed a five-year production sharing contract for Blocks F & G located off Rio Muni in Equatorial Guinea. These blocks are part of old blocks ML 3, 4 & 5. Triton is committed to 3,000 km of new seismic and a well in the initial period.

Amoco bows out of Gabon

Amoco has withdrawn its 85% participation in offshore Gabon, after the highly publicized Walt Whitman 1R was plugged and abandoned with no test. As of this writing, the company is finalizing negotiations on transfer. Force Energy is taking over responsibility 100% but will make available 50% to any willing partner.

UMC major Gulf of Guinea player

UMC, the otherwise small Independent American company, is looming large in the offshore Gulf of Guinea. They are the junior partners to Mobil in the very successful Zafiro Field, which promoted Equatorial Guinea from a minor gas producer to a respectable oil producing country. UMIC is operating two other leases in that country. But in Cote d'Ivoire, it is the major oil company, operating seven leases, whose sizes range from 778-2,034 sq km. One of these, the CI 01 contains the Kudu Field which is expected to deliver gas for electricity generation in Ghana, in a contract that has Chevron in Nigeria -which is planning a gas pipeline route through Togo-Benin-Ghana - smarting.

Copyright 1997 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.

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