Chevron Nigeria has contracted the rig Adriatic IX for a six month drilling activity in shallow water western Niger Delta Basin. The jack-up, owned and managed by Shelf drilling, will be active on four wells in the Meren field between now and April 2014.
This marks a return of the Chevron/NNPC joint venture to shallow water drill-site in Nigeria.
Chevron has been absent in action in Nigeria’s land and shallow water rig count since KS Endeavor, a jack up-rig working on its Funiwa-5 well, exploded on January 16 2012, resulting in the death of two of the 154 personnel onboard. The company has however, been drilling on the Agbami deepwater field.
Incidentally, the ill- fated Funiwa drilling itself was to mark a return to the company’s shallow water drilling, after a hiatus beginning in mid -2010. In fact, Chevron has been largely absent from Nigerian drilling for upwards of three years and is the one company whose rig activity is sharply at variance with the spike in the country’s rig count between 2010 and 2013.
The four Meren wells to be drilled by Adriatic IX are new take points to help maintain oil production as well as deliver gas for one of the three phases of the Escravos Gas Project. Chevron produces about 520,000BOPD in Nigeria, half of which comes from onshore and shallow water. Agbami produces about 250,000BOPD. Chevron’s three gas projects have a combined capacity of 680MMscf/d, with 300MMscf/d pumped into the Escravos Lagos Pipeline system, the nerve of the country’s domestic gas network. Meren is an old Chevron field, discovered over 30 years ago and still delivering in excess of 50,000BOEPD.
Chevron is also working on returning to drill in its swamp assets (Gbokoda, Benin River, Abiteye..), from which it has refrained after attacks 10 years ago. The company has since refurbished the facilities and lined up plans to drill as many as 30 wells in the swamp area beginning in 2012. But the plan was put on hold. Militant attacks are quite frequent in the swamp, where criminal gangs have created zones that oil companies are barred from reaching. The government has struggled with security.