Emeka Okwuosa, Chief Executive Officer of Oilserv, says he is undeterred by the news that the Benin Basin, of recent, has been a graveyard of E&P dreams.
“I understand the reservoirs. In 1988/1989, I was the resident Schlumberger manager of West Africa based in Benin Republic and I helped to develop the Seme field. So I understand the reservoir structure there”, he told Africa Oil+Gas Report
Oilserv is mostly a midstream service, EPCI company, with interests in engineering studies, E&P and power distribution. The company’s E&P subsidiary, Frazoil, holds an acreage, Block 3, in the basin, in Benin Republic, so Okwuosa’s perspective here is that of a licence holder. “I know why other investors have made mistakes and I know what I am looking for”.
But while Mr.Okwuosa is not a geoscientist, he argues that he understands the risk. “Don’t forget that historically, less than 30% of exploration turns out production so it is never an exact science. In fact, in most places it is less than 17%”.
The facts that Okwuosa is dealing with are stubborn. Conoil drilled an exploration well on the boundary between Benin and Niger Delta Basins in 2018, which failed spectacularly. For a full year, Yinka Folawiyo &Co have been unable to increase production on the Aje field (the only Nigerian producing field located in the Benin Basin) from 3,000BOPD, let alone get anywhere close to the prognosed 10,000BOPD peak. SAPETRO exited its two assets in Benin Republic about two years ago after four unsuccessful wells in the basin.
Optimum/ Lekoil/Afren discovered the Ogo field in OPL 310 in the Benin Basin in 2013, but the jury is out on what the technical/geoscientific experience would be, when the work programme moves into the next phase of appraisal.
“I have an advantage. I also have a strong belief that it will work out well even though it is still a risk”, says Okwuosa.
As to how he would fund the drilling, the oilfield entrepreneur says it is a process. “You know that E&P is different from EPC. We have the whole thing worked out and we are directly funding part of the exploration and today, we funding seismic acquisition, processing and then the interpretation. When we get to a stage where we have to drill or invest more, we can have to farm-out but like I said, it is a process. When we get there, we will cross it”.