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Majors Reclaim E&P Lead in Africa’s Frontier

European and American majors have returned to dominate the African frontier, seeking to establish new heartlands.
They are taking back the initiative from the small to large independents, who have mostly been responsible for new discoveries and development in basins outside Nigeria and Angola for the past 15 years.

In the last 12 months, Tullow, Kosmos, Apache and some of their peers have taken a back seat, as TOTAL, ExxonMobil, ENI and BP reclaim the African E&P landscape.

ExxonMobil has drilled a wildcat in Liberia, ENI has taken positions in Cote d’Ivoire, BP has bet on Senegal and Mauritania and TOTAL has grabbed a Senegalese asset that once belonged to a very junior company.

And that’s just the exploration part of things.

Find out in these pages.

The 2017 edition of Independents’ Day, this magazine’s once-a -year review of activities of foreign independent companies operating in Africa, pays close attention to the results of these companies’ exploration ventures in little known basins on the continent, as well as details of plans for the near term.


How the Taps Were Opened In Chevron’s Agbami’s Phase Three Project

Chevron’s Agbami Phase 3 project was kicked off in 2012 to maximize recovery of the Agbami field, Nigeria’s largest producing single hydrocarbon asset. The idea was to increase production and keep the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) system full. That vision became a reality in 2016.

The project involved drilling new wells to drain a compartment of the field that was not part of the last two phases of development. Agbami field initially came on stream in 2008. The field hit had reached peak production of 250,000 barrels per day in August 2009, or four months ahead of schedule, but years later, natural decline had kept output between 230,000 and 240,000BOPD.

Company spokespersons say that timely decisions were critical to the success of the project. One such decision, made earlier on in the project- to purchase long lead equipment- was critical to enable the projects to meet the scheduled milestones. With this Deepwater project, some of the long lead items had lead time of almost three years. So the decision had to be made before all the details of the project were finalized. Another such decision was to acquire four dimensional (4D) seismic data, which helped the team locate the wells in optimal reservoir positions, resulting in production performance and reserve additions exceeding expectations.

“There was a very good synergy between the Agbami Phase 3 project team and the Deepwater based business subsea team”, company spokespersons say. “The Deepwater subsea team manages the African Inspiration Vessel, owned by the Nigerian contractor Marine Platforms, is a multipurpose vessel deployed in the Agbami field. This vessel was used to install several project equipment including the Subsea Trees, Manifold and Connection System. It was also used to commission and set up the subsea wells. The utilization of the African Inspiration Vessel contributed to significant cost savings for the project.

Chevron says that the Agbami Phase 3 project was executed below budget and ahead of schedule.
The project delivered an ambitious local content scope. “We manufactured the two production manifolds and the two suction piles 100% in Nigeria and this is a repeat of success we had right from the legacy time where we did exactly that, so we are again repeating that success”, Chevron spokespersons say. “Agbami Phase 3 project contributed towards Nigeria human capacity development through the use of Nigerian engineers; we have also now domesticated, in-country, the capacity to assemble and fabricate Deepwater subsea trees and manifolds in Nigeria”, the company men explain.

Agbami Phase three was a transnational project. “Everything literally happened across continents”, company officials point out. “We had the contractors/engineering team work in France as well as in Nigeria. We had the manufacturing of the flexible pipes occur in Malaysia; the Chevron core project team was here in Nigeria and we had some UTC support groups in Houston as well as in Australia. So again, it literally happened across continents which made it all the more interesting”.

Some of the aspects of the project that excited the Agbami team were the witnessing of technological components coming together. One highpoint, spokespersons note “was seeing everything come alive during the umbilical installation and onboarding and polar Onyx vessel and when all the wells were basically brought online and hydraulically operated from the FPSO; the new drill centers coming alive was a very major achievement for me on the project”.

Another testimony was that In Agbami Phase 3 project, “the Subsea Control Module (SCM) 150 which is the older module being used was obsolete and a new model SCM 615 was introduced. So we had to conduct two tests namely: Fill Coexistence Test and Backward Compatibility Test to check and ensure that the older model SCM Model 150 and 615 can co-exist and function together on the same pair of wire subsea”. The company says that “the success story in all this is the fact that we are able to complete the installation of all the four numbers flow lines and the Subsea Flying Leads (SFLs) and inflow umbilicals within time, incident and injury free”.


Are Independents On The Retreat in Africa?

Independent E&P companies, domiciled in Europe and America, have been through so much in the last three years that they are giving up the African play to the majors. BG has been wrapped up in the voluminous folds of Shell. Tullow has sold its prime position in East Africa to TOTAL. BP will operate what used to be Kosmos led acreages in Northwest Africa.

Cairn Energy is still the lead hunter in that corner of the continent. Africa’s first and second Floating LNGs will be operated by independents. But, in general, are Africa focused Western independents still the continent’s wildcatters? Are they still the markers to where the opportunities lie?

Find out in these pages.

The 2017 edition of Independents’ Day, this magazine’s once-a -year review of activities of foreign independent companies operating in Africa, pays close attention to the results of these companies’ exploration ventures in little known basins on the continent, as well as details of plans for the near term.


Ayoade Is New Boss At Erin Headquarters

Erin Energy has named Femi Ayoade as CEO and new Director of the Corporation. He replaces Segun Omidele, who resigned effective February 22, 2017. Up until Mid-May 2017, when Ayoade took over, Jean-Michel Malek, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, served as Interim Chief Executive Officer, while the Board conducted a search for a permanent replacement.

Ayoade has more than 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and extensive experience on exploration and production operations offshore Nigeria. From 2008 to 2013, he was a Senior Technical Executive at CAMAC Petroleum Limited and Allied Energy Plc Nigeria and from 2006 to 2008, he was a Senior Drilling Engineer at Nigeria Agip Exploration (a subsidiary of ENI).

New non- executive directors and members of the board who joined the board in Mid-May 2017 are John Rudley, an American and Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, a Nigerian. Rudley served as the President of Texas Southern University from February 2008 to July 2016; Ahmed, meanwhile, “has an extensive history of government service on behalf of the Republic of Nigeria and has served as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation of Nigeria, a role that involved serving as Secretary to all Councils and bodies chaired by the President of the Republic, such as the Federal Executive Council and the Council of State. Mr. Ahmed served as the Minister of Defense and as the Head of Civil Service.


Dangote Refinery Contracts DuPont Technology for Clean Emission

DuPont Clean Technologies announced that Dangote Oil Refinery Company Limited has commissioned a range of advanced proprietary equipment from DuPont for the construction of a new refinery in Lekki, an emerging seaport and manufacturing hub, located in the east of Lagos, Nigeria’s top commercial city.

Construction of the new refinery is part of a strategy to boost the country’s refining capacity. Dangote plans to turn 650,000Barrels of crude oil per day into 59 Million litres of gasoline; 20Million litres of Kerosine and 29Million litres of diesel per day, at peak performance.

“The innovative DuPont technology will allow Dangote to maximize quality and profitability while minimizing its environmental impact”, DuPont Clean Technologies says in a statement. “DuPont will be supplying Dangote with proprietary equipment for STRATCO® alkylation unit, MECS® sulfuric acid regeneration (SAR) unit, MECS® DynaWave® sulfur recovery unit (SRU) tail gas scrubbing, and BELCO® EDV® fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) stack scrubbing that will help Dangote meet gasoline pool octane and emissions requirements”. The MECS® DynaWave® and BELCO® EDV® scrubbing technologies are leading refinery scrubbing technologies, also licensed and designed by DuPont. They offer ultimate emission control reliability and continuous operation.

At 650,000BOPD input, the Dangote refinery, on course for commissioning in 2020, is set to become the largest single-train refinery in the world. Within the same complex in Lekki, a petrochemical plant delivering 1Million Tonnes of polypropylene, a fertiliser plant with capacity for 3Million Tonnes of Urea Per Annum and a 3Billion cubic feet per day gas project pumped through 1,100km of subsea pipelines from the country’s south east to Lagos, are collocated.

“We are delighted to be supporting Dangote on a project that is of such critical importance to creating economic growth and opportunity in Nigeria,” said Eli Ben-Shoshan, global business leader, DuPont Clean Technologies. “Our aim is always to enable our customers to meet their emissions targets easily and efficiently with the help of cost-effective technologies and services that offer them value and flexibility while minimizing the impact on the environment.”

The new 27,000 Barrels Per Stream Day (BPSD or1,060 KMTA) alkylation unit and the 260 Metric Tonnes Per Day (MTPD) SAR unit will allow the facility to produce high octane, low sulfur, low RVP alkylate with zero olefins. Designed to meet world standards for particulate matter and SOx emissions, the DynaWave® wet gas scrubber will ensure full-time compliance with emissions regulations on both 115 ton per day SRUs, and the BELCO® EDV® wet gas scrubber will reduce the stack emissions from the FCCU as well as provide a purge treatment to condition the scrubber effluent. Both of the SRUs and the FCCU are supplied by other licensors.

Despite producing 2.12MM BOPD crude oil in 2015, Nigeria traditionally imports 80% of domestically consumed refined product, as national refining capacity is low, at 0.002BPD per capita.

“Licensed and designed by DuPont, the STRATCO® alkylation technology is the established global leader in the industry with over 90 units licensed worldwide and more than 850,000 BPSD (33,300 KMTA) of installed capacity. For over 80 years, the STRATCO® technology has helped refineries safely to produce cleaner-burning fuel with high octane, low RVP, low sulfur and zero olefins”, DuPont explains in its statement.


TOTAL To Build a 146 MW Plant in Uganda’s ‘Oily’ District

French major TOTAL has applied for power generation licence from Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA).
It wants to build a 146MW thermal power plant in Buliisa District, in the oil prospective region of Uganda.

Buliisa is bordered by Hoima District to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo, across the Lake Albert to the west.

TOTAL is leading the $20Billion Uganda Albert Basin oil development project, which will include draining over a billion barrels of waxy crude and transporting them through a 1,444Km pipeline from Hoima to Tanga, the Indian Ocean port town in Tanzania.

The tentative cost of the power project is $117.4Million or 416BillionShs (Ugandan Shillings)
TOTAL is hoping to start the plant’s construction in 2019 if it receives ERA’s approval to generate power. “The project would be financed by 100 per cent shareholder equity”, the company says.

Although the project is, in part, to boost electricity supply in one of TOTAL’s most important African hydrocarbon portfolios, the power generated will be sold to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL), the country’s licensed sole buyer of electricity from power generation plants.

UETCL then sells the power it buys to electricity distribution companies such as Umeme and the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited.

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OES Teamwork Rig Will Drill Opuama 7 Sidetrack

By McJohnTatsi, in Warri

The NPDC/Elcrest joint venture has awarded OES Energy Services Limited the contract to drill a sidetrack well to Opuama-7. The drilling contractor will utilise its OES Teamwork swamp rig for the work.

The side-tracking of the existing Opuama-7 well is expected to contribute an initial production rates of 5,900* barrels of oil per day (“BOPD”) gross, increasing near term overall production from OML 40 to around an expected 17,500 BOPD gross, says Eland Oil and Gas, the UK listed technical partner in the Eland-Starcrest IJV (otherwise known as Elcrest).

OES Teamwork swamp rig is currently undergoing meticulous preparation, which includes mobilising rig personnel, system tests and equipment shake down, to target the commencement of the rig move to Opuama-7 location in July 2017”, the company explains.

Duration
The rig will drill a sidetrack to around 2,300metres (7,500feet), expected to take in the region of a month to complete.

Extension Possible
As part of the contract’s terms, the NPDC/Elcrest Joint Venture has the option to extend the contract for the re-entry of Gbetiokun-1, which it intends to start immediately after Opuama-7 sidetrack.


PGS Chief To Become Chairman of Statoil

Jon Erik Reinhardsen has been elected as new chair of Statoil’s board of directors.

Øystein Løseth, who was chairman for the last two years, had informed the nomination committee that he did not wish to stand for re-election in 2017, as he wants to return to a career seeking more operational positions.

Løseth leaves the board on July 1, 2017.

Reinhardsen will resume from the position of Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS)a job he has held for nine years (since 2008), and take on chairmanship of the board of one of Europe’s largest E&P companies from September 1, 2017, until the ordinary election of shareholder-elected members to the board of directors in 2018.

Meanwhile, Roy Franklin will retain his position as deputy chair and will function as the acting chair of the board in an interim period fromJuly1, 2017, when Løseth leaves the board of directors, until and including August31, 2017.

WencheAgerup, Bjørn Tore Godal, Rebekka Glasser Herlofsen, Maria Johanna Oudeman and Jeroen van der Veer were all re-elected members of the board of directors.


Ben Asante Takes Charge of Ghana Gas

Ben K. D. Asante is the Caretaker Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas).
His appointment follows the exit of the former CEO of the company, George Sipa-Adjah Yankey.

Asante assumes his new role as Acting-CEO with more than 25 years global experience in the Oil and Gas industry. He is a Lecturer at the School of Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and a former Engineering and Technical Director of Ghana’s premier Gas Infrastructure project, which led to the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant and allied gas infrastructure in the country’s petroleum rich Western Region.

He has worked for major Operating Companies (Nova/TransCanada Pipelines and Enron) as well as Engineering Consulting companies (Jacobs Engineering and Gulf Interstate Engineering) in Canada and the US in various positions up Director of Engineering and Operations.
He has also provided consulting services to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

He developed the Gas Infrastructure Master Plan for Ghana, working with the Energy Commission.He has consulted for the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation GNPC. He holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering (KNUST, Ghana) and MSc in Chemical Engineering (University of Calgary, Canada) and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, London/University of Calgary. Dr Asante is a board certified Professional Engineer.

He has 15 technical papers and made over 80 technical presentations around the world on Oil/Gas Infrastructure Design and Operations.


SDX Grabs The Gharb Centre

The Gharb Centre exploration permit, covering an area of over 1362 km2, has been awarded to SDX for a period of eight years, with a firm commitment from SDX for the acquisition of 200km2 of 3D seismic, and two exploration wells within the first four-year period.

The Gharb Centre area comes with a considerable quantity of recently acquired 2D and 3D seismic which has established multiple target horizons throughout the Miocene-aged strata, similar to what the Company produces from in its surrounding licenses.

The activity at Gharb Centre complements the work programmes at both Sebou and Lalla Mimouna, where development and exploration wells are planned for H2 2017, as previously announced. Pre-drilling activity is now underway in both permits where the tendering process for drilling rigs and associated services has been initiated. SDX has also received partner approval for seven drilling locations in these permits and is targeting a late Q3 2017 start date for the program.

© 2017 Festac News Press Ltd..

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