Nigerian Minnows Get Aggressive - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

Nigerian Minnows Get Aggressive

Dada Thomas

Century moves to location, Newcross on third well, Frontier has a five well contract, NDPR completes gas well and boosts oil production…in the last six months.

The Nigerian rig tracking sheet shows a continuing uptake of drilling activity for Nigerian minnows, compared with the majors who have run the industry in the last 50 years. “There’s a noticeable diversity in the rig count”, says Sam Ojibua, an Africa focused oil and gas analyst. “Up until five years ago, this wasn’t evident”. The country’s rig count was almost entirely equated to the report produced by the exploration subcommittee of the Oil Producing Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, largely a grouping of majors.

But the times are a changing, as they say. Oil majors in Nigeria are having grave challenges with their work programmes, especially in acreages where they are in joint venture with the state hydrocarbon company NNPC. Whereas TOTAL and Chevron were absent from shallow water and land rig activities in April 2014, companies like Conoil, Sahara and Newcross (the last two having only arrived at the drillsite for the first time ever), have maintained rigs on both land and swamp locations in the last four months. In that space of time, all of them have either made discoveries or confirmed extensions of known pools of hydrocarbon by appraisal drilling. Conoil, Sahara and Newcross collectively hold working interests in over 7,200 sq kilometres of acreages on eight oil prospecting leases and two oil mining leases. After having been held back by partner challenges, regulatory issues, and/or plain old fashioned lethargy, these companies are now charged.

And whereas these threesome are holders of both producing and exploratory acreages, they are joined on the patch by several marginal field companies, already producing between 1,000-5,000BOPD from small fields, and keen on maintaining, or adding to the output, for as long as they possibly can.

  • Frontier Oil has a contract with a rig company to complete two gas wells, drill a water injection well and drill two new wells, one of which is an appraisal hole. In effect, it’s a five well contract, to be implemented from June 2014.
  • Niger Delta Petroleum completed one well on its Ogbele field as a dual completion gas well, completed and hooked up another as an oil well, which almost doubled its output.
  • Pillar drilled and completed two wells on its Umusati field in the last four months, releasing the rig at the end of March.
  • Platform has just completed work over of some wells, which increased its production by 50% of what it was producing before February 2014.
  • Energia released a rig at the end of March after completing yet another well. This very aggressive player has 8,000BOPD in capacity.
  • Prime Energy is ready to tackle a second well. They’ve been producing from one for upwards of a year.
  • Century Energy finally moved a rig to location on the Atala fields in the swamps of Bayelsa State, after waiting 14 months to resolve the state government’s suspicion of its farm in deal. It will spend 60days reentering and conducting an extended test on the only well on the field, drilled by Shell.

Comprehensive monthly updates of technical and investment activities of Nigerian independents are available here.

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