Gabon Breaks Into The Deepwater Club - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

Gabon Breaks Into The Deepwater Club

Gabon has finally been admitted into the West African deep-water hydrocarbon league.

With the encounter of some 50-55 metre net hydrocarbon pay in the deepwater pre-salt play, in Diaman-1B, in the Diaba Licence, the country has broken an 12 year old jinx. The wildcat well, drilled to a total depth of 5584metres in approximately 1,729metres of water, is located over 95 km away from the nearest pre-salt commercial discovery, which is in shallow waters.

When the African deepwater campaign started in the early 90s, Gabon, already an established oil producer on land and shallow waters, was expected to join the successes experienced by Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea. Instead, the country suffered a string of dry holes in the terrain, while these three other countries went on to establish West Africa, by 2003, as the leading deepwater oil province on the planet, ahead of the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil.

French major TOTAL, the same operator who experienced a string of three dry holes back to back, in Gabon’s Congo Basin in 2001, returned in 2013, with a different play concept; to locate hydrocarbons in the pre-salt segment of deepwater Gabon. Preliminary analysis, so far, indicates that the hydrocarbons are natural gas with condensate content, “pending results of ongoing analyses of well data”, according to a media release by Marathon Oil, a junior partner in the acreage.

Gabon had been desperately in need of this booster. Since peak production in 1997 at around 350,000BOPD, oil output in Gabon has declined by one-third, according to the United States Energy Information Administration(EIA). In the meantime, Brazil’s offshore pre-salt discoveries have raised investor interest in West Africa’s pre-salt potential, with Gabon and Angola being specific targets. American minnow Harvest Natural Resources struck oil at its Ruche-1 wildcat well in the pre-salt layers offshore Gabon in June 2011, in about 100 metres of water.

TOTAL and partners are currently evaluating the well results and incorporating them into an overall evaluation of the Diaman-1B discovery. The well will be temporarily abandoned pending further analysis of the data.

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1 comment

  1. Emmanan Usanga says:

    Very good for Gabon.
    The salt in Nigeria could be in the Ikorodu Lagos Lagoon behind the Lagos Bar..
    Very little exploration has taken place there!

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