By Foluso Ogunsan
Nigerian independent, Newcross Petroleum, operating on the margins for the past nine years, has broken into the mainstream of the country’s oilfield activity.
The vehicle is the rank wildcat Efe-1ST, the first well to be operated by the company, which encountered sixteen (16) hydrocarbon-bearing sands with gross hydrocarbon thickness of 648ft (200metres) true vertical depth TVD. “Work is ongoing to determine the size and commerciality of the discovery”, the company says in a press release. Efe-1ST will be temporarily suspended while the company moves ahead to drill Efe-B.
The well is located in Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 283, formerly known as Oil Mining Lease (OML) 56. Newcross operates the lease with 90% participating interest. Its partner, Rayflosh Petroleum, holds a 10% interest. Both work under a Production Sharing Contract with Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC (as the concessionaire), and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Newcross has been in operation in Nigeria since 2004 as an exploration and production company, but it is better known as the quiet, non -operating partner to the much publicized Platform Petroleum, on the Egbeoma marginal field. The company provided the funds for Platform to take that field to first oil in 2007. Newcross also funded, largely, the 48km crude oil evacuation pipeline from the Egbeoma field to Agip’s export terminal in Kwale, in the country’s mid-west.
Since it acquired the OPL 283 from Centrica in 2010, Newcross has laboured to make some name for itself as an operator. The Efe-1ST is some sort of validation of that effort.
Evi Otobo, a lead earth scientist with the company, describes the Efe discovery as a confirmation of the support NNPC and DPR have expressed in newly emerging companies willing to actively pursue the increasing the national hydrocarbon reserves through new exploratory activities. OPL 283 is located in the Northern Niger Delta Depobelt, according to Shell Nigeria geologic classification, which is the standard in Nigeria’s oil industry. Efe-1ST was successfully drilled to a total depth of 14,086ft, or 4293 metres Measured Depth MD (12,720ft (3877metres) TVD).
“The EFE-1ST tested a four-way dip closure at the shallow levels gradually becoming fault-dependent hanging wall closures at intermediate to deeper levels”, Otobo explains in the release. “At much deeper levels, the dip directions can change with closures moving to the footwall against south-bounding faults to explore EFE-main shallow, intermediate and deeper plays of the middle-upper Eocene reservoirs”.
Otobo sees EFE-1ST as representing “an important step towards unlocking the deep potentials in OPL 283”.