CNOOC Starts a Widely Anticipated Frontier Drilling in Deepwater Gabon - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

CNOOC Starts a Widely Anticipated Frontier Drilling in Deepwater Gabon

China National Offshore Operating Company CNOOC, the Chinese state-owned E&P behemoth, has commenced a wildcat, as scheduled, in deepwaters offshore Gabon.

Tigre-1 is one of six frontier probes listed by analysts as possible basin opening wells in Africa.

The well is being drilled by the mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) Stena Icemax in blocks BC-9 and BCD-10. The latter was where Shell encountered 200 metres of net gas pay while drilling the Leopard-1 wildcat in 2014. Shell was excited by the result at the time and there were speculations (that Shell did not refute), of potential resource of 10Trillion cubic feet of gas in the Leopard structure, which is located below a salt (carbonate) formation.

Shell has since divested from the asset,as Gabon’s fiscal terms as of then did not allow for commercialization of natural.  CNOOC Ltd, its partner in the 2014 discovery, took over 100% and operatorship of both assets in an acquisition finalized in 2019. CNOOC’s ongoing drilling is targeting oil, downslope of Shell’s Leopard 1.

The drilling programme is crucial for Gabon, which has struggled, in vain for the last 30 years, to find itself in the deepwater production map of the world. It is the only African oil producing country, lying on the edge of the south Atlantic, without crude oil or gas output from the deepwater terrain.



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