West Africa

Agip seeks another farm-in candidate for the three offshore blocks - M'Polo, Chaillu, and Meboun - even as the Malaysian state oil company Petronas has acquired a 25% stake. Agip wants to reduce its exposure on the shelf and deepwater leases from 75% to 50%.

Th 0200osafrica1

Agip wants more offshore Gabon

Agip seeks another farm-in candidate for the three offshore blocks - M'Polo, Chaillu, and Meboun - even as the Malaysian state oil company Petronas has acquired a 25% stake. Agip wants to reduce its exposure on the shelf and deepwater leases from 75% to 50%. Mpolo, Challiu, and Meboun cover 4,414 sq km, 4,895 sq km, and 13,214 sq km, respectively, in the central west region offshore Gabon.

Th 0200osafrica1
Agip is looking for one more partner for three of its Gabonese blocks 0 M'Polo, Chaillu, and Meboun.
Click here to enlarge image

Meanwhile, Western Geophysical's Western Regent seismic vessel has commenced a 3,000 sq km 3D seismic program across the leases last December. A total of 1,800 km of 2D seismic was shot over the area in March of 1999 by Geco Prakla, which aided Agip in giving technical presentations throughout the first half of the year on the blocks. Several companies expressed interest in the leases, but only Petronas made a bid. The last drilling on the blocks was Chaillu Papillion Marine 1, drilled in the M'Polo block. It was plugged and abandoned at 3, 154 meters in September of 1997.

Time running out for Ocean Energy

Time is running out for Ocean Energy in two blocks in Equatorial Guinea. The recent publicity for the country generated by Triton's surprising find in Ceiba, offshore Rio Muni has not helped deliver the much needed farm-in partners to Ocean Energy in nearby Blocks A and D. Yet, the company must drill a well by 10 September 2001, in the 1,774 sq km Block A, and by 31 December in the 809 sq km Block D.

Ocean Energy planned to drill a well by last quarter 1999 in Block A, but the failure to find a partner scuttled the idea. Block D adjoins east and northeast of the prolific Block B, wherein lies the Zafiro Field, operated by Mobil. Ocean Energy holds 94% in each of the leases; the Equatorial Guinea government holds the remaining 6%.

New year discovery reassures Elf

Elf's eighth discovery, Camelia, in the deepwater Block 17 off Angola, announced on New Year's eve, reassures the company of money in the ground, despite the fact that the oil is heavy (23° API) and the company is still struggling with the development of Girassol, its first oil field in that fairway.

Chevron led every operator in the world's hottest deepwater spot. It lifted the first oil out of deepwater Angola in the week before Christmas. Kuito, in 350 meters water depth, is coming onstream at 50,000 b/d, increasing to 100,000 b/d by the end of the first quarter 2000. Elf, strapped for cash to finance Girassol and meeting with engineering problems, is not likely to produce Girassol until 2002.

The Camelia discovery provides much hope for the company. It tested 9,000 b/d of oil, in 1,296 meters water depth, and follows up the string of discoveries by Elf which have included: Girassol(1996), Dalia (1997), Rosa (1998), Lirio(1998), Tulipa (1999), Orquidea (1999), and Cravo (1999). All of the discoveries are located approximately 125 miles from the shorelines. Block 17 represents a world-class development opportunity with recoverable reserves potential in excess of 3.5 billion oil equivalent bbl.

Th 0200osafrica2
Camelia is the eighth flower added to Elf's bouquet of discoveries in Block 17.
Click here to enlarge image

Sonangol, the Angolan national oil company, is the concessionaire of the block; Elf Exploration Angola is the operator and holds 35%. Partners include: Esso (20%), BP Exploration Angola (16.67%), Den Norske Stats Oljeselskap a.s. (13.33%), Norsk Hydro ASA (10%) and TotalFina Exploration MB, B.V. (5%).

Consolidated takes risk in OPL 458

Consolidated Oil encountered natural gas at about 8,500 ft (measured depth), half way to the proposed total depth, in Temi-A. The well is located in 180 meters water depth in the Niger Delta Basin offshore Nigeria. It is the company's first well in lease OPL 458 and observers are wondering why a cash-strapped, indigenous company could be taking such a risk in a frontier area.

There are less risky areas to drill in OPL 458, and such include the Amatu Field area, where six wells drilled by Japan Petroleum in the 1970s guarantee a possible production of 10,000 b/d of oil. "I don't know why they have to go to a near virgin territory," said a source at the Department of Petroleum Resources.

The Temi prospect is not entirely virgin though. Deminex encountered gas on the same structure in 1973 and plugged and abandoned the well, Agge-1. But Consolidated is targeting far deeper sands than the gas zone in Agge-1, which is being interpreted as the same reservoir as the one already encountered in Temi-1. The proposed total depth is 17,000 ft. Consolidated has been talking to Chevron about possible joint exploration of the OPL 458, and the negotiations were going well. Thus, Chevron was surprised that the indigenous company has gone ahead to spud a first well.

Agbami, Bonga provide boost to Nigerian deepwater

Within one week of each other, announcements of tentative production dates of two large fields in deepwater Nigeria are expected to boost the value of the ultra-deepwater leases, expected to be open for bidding this month.

A week after Shell announced that production of its Bonga Field would commence in the second quarter 2003, Texaco released the information that the first oil from Agbami will be lifted at about the same time in 2003. Shell has estimated the reserves for Bonga at about 600 million bbl of oil. Texaco, in a release in early January, said it will book half of the 1 billion bbl of oil estimated to be in place in Agbami Field. The two fields are 155 km apart.

Production at Agbami is expected to peak at 200,000 bbl in 2004, according to John O'Connor, Senior Vice President of Texaco. The field will yield initial production in the second half of 2003 . O'Connor said Texaco hoped "ultimately" to book in excess of 50% of those reserves. As O'Connor was speaking, Texaco was about to spud another well, Ikija, in the same block OPL 216, 13 miles west of Agbami. It is "thought to be a structure similar to Agbami," O'Connor said. Ikija may not extend over 45,000 acres, but "could well be of similar magnitude," he added.

Texaco will drill a further two appraisal wells at Agbami later in the year. The field plan calls for 10 producing wells and three injection wells, in order to produce 200,000 b/d. This is, however, subject to discussion with partners.

More in Regional Reports