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Recon Confirms “Oil Zones” in Namibia, But Doesn’t say: ”Commercial Discovery”

Canadian explorer Reconnaissance Energy Africa Ltd. (ReconAfrica) has provided, for the first time, the result of preliminary petrophysical analysis of the first well drilled (the 6-2 well) in the vast, pristine Kavango basin, straddling Namibia and Botswana.

The evaluation was done by Core Laboratories (Core Lab) and Netherland Sewell & Associates Inc. (NSAI).

What’s clear is that throughout the report, as well as ReconAfrica’s interpretation of it, there is no mention of the term: “Commercial Discovery”.

The company reiterates the claim that the 6-2 well established a working hydrocarbon basin in this unexplored basin, of which it has a licence to 8.5Million acres, in the two countries, but commercial oil discovery is still a stretch.

“This is an important first step as the information from our first two wells, combined with the seismic data, will enable ReconAfrica and its independent engineering, geological and geophysical consultant, NSAI, to prepare a new resource report of the potential of the Kavango Basin acreage and determine the optimal locations of the next tranche of exploration drilling”.

Some highlight of the report:

Log and Core Analysis

The NSAI petrophysical study, the first in the Kavango basin, has identified five potential conventional reservoir zones in the 6-2 well, of which three are clastic zones (sandstone) and two are carbonate zones (limestone, dolomite) based on the first set of core analysis and mineralogical data from Core Lab. This study, which brings together wireline log data, core data, and sample and hydrocarbon show data from the 6-2 well, confirms 198 metres (650 feet) of net reservoir over five separate intervals. The NSAI presentation can be found here

ReconAfrica CEO Scot Evans states, “Oil and gas data previously released confirms an active petroleum system. Now, the NSAI reservoir study confirms at least five good quality conventional reservoir targets and top seal to pursue throughout the basin. The seismic data currently being acquired will determine hydrocarbon traps, size, and geometry (full closure around a reservoir) which will consolidate all the data to identify potential commercial fields for the next round of exploration drilling.”

According to Nick Steinsberger, the Company’s Senior Vice President Drilling & Completions, “The NSAI study complements the sample logs and geochemical data by demonstrating the presence of reservoir quality rocks in the first stratigraphic test well in Namibia. The oil and gas shows that were reported from the logs at the well site are from reservoir quality rock intervals. The first carbonate reservoir zone, for example, contains core with 17% porosity, several millidarcy permeability (reservoir quality permeability) and some fracture porosity. Porosity reflects the storage capacity of a reservoir rock whereas permeability describes the ability to flow through the rock. The goals of ReconAfrica’s stratigraphic tests have been achieved with remarkable success in an unexplored basin and enable the initiation of the next phase of petroleum exploration efforts in the Kavango basin.”

Seismic Operations

The seismic field acquisition is progressing well with acquisition of approximately 30% of the 450 km programme now completed with good initial data quality. The program is on schedule for completion of acquisition and interpretation by the end of October 2021. The 2D seismic provides the basis for the important second phase of drilling into seismically defined structures or traps, which is expected to begin before year end.

Once the results of the vertical seismic profile and 2D seismic data on the 6-2 well are complete, the company will make a decision on production testing.

Environmental, Social & Governance

In addition to the four solar powered community water wells currently in operation, ReconAfrica, working with local and state water authorities, has permitted another 20 community water wells. The Company has now hired two Namibian contractors, Aqua Drilling to conduct drilling operations and Leben Technical Services to install all solar powered equipment. It is expected both contractors will commence operations in early September on the first 8 of 20 wells where four wells are scheduled to be drilled in Kavango East and four wells in Kavango West.

ReconAfrica continues its commitment to local hiring with over 300 Namibian residents now employed, has a strong commitment to gender diversity and continues to increase the number of women hired locally.


In Ivory Coast, ENI Announces a Potential Discovery of Up to 2Billion Barrels in Place

Italian explorer ENI says it has made a major oil discovery in block CI-101 offshore Ivory Coast. The block is operated by ENI with the state hydrocarbon firm Petroci Holding, who holds 90% and 10% respectively in the exploration phase.  

The company says the well was drilled in the context of a new play concept in the West African margin. The probe encountered light oil in reservoirs of the Santonian and Cenomanian / Albian ages.

It could be big. ENI is talking about the discovery potential of up to a 2Billion barrels of oil and 2.4Trillion cubic feet of gas in place, but the concept needs to be tested through a comprehensive appraisal programme.

Baleine-1x discovered light oil (40° API) in two different stratigraphic levels”, the company explains. An evaluation programme will be carried out to assess the significant upside potential of the overall structure that extends into block CI-802, also operated by ENI with the same Joint-Venture and participating interests in the exploration phase.

ENI’s geoscientists say that Baleine-1x was located on the basis of a comprehensive analysis of a wide range of three dimensional (3D)seismic data and regional studies in the sedimentary basin in Ivory Coast; the implementation of state-of-the-art technology including intelligent wireline formation testing and fluid sampling proved the presence of light oil-bearing intervals of Santonian and Cenomanian / Albian age. The lower Cenomanian / Albian level shows discrete to good reservoir characteristics and has been successfully tested to production.

The well was drilled in about 1,200 metres of water depth with the Saipem 10,000 drillship and reached a total depth of 3,445 metres in 30 days.

Along with the appraisal programme, ENI and Petroci Holding will also start studies for a fast-track development of the Baleine discovery. The potential of the discovery can be preliminarily estimated at between 1.5 and 2.0Billion barrels of oil in place and between 1.8 and 2.4Trillion cubic feet (TCF) of associated gas.

Baleine-1x is the first exploration well drilled by ENI in the Ivory Coast. Besides block CI-101, ENI owns a participating interest in other four blocks in the Ivorian deep water: CI-205, CI-501, CI-504, and CI-802, all with the same partner Petroci Holding.

BW Energy Makes a Discovery off Gabon

Norwegian explorer BW Energy has encountered hydrocarbons in the Hibiscus North exploration well (DHBNM-1), currently being drilled in the Dussafu Marin Permit offshore Gabon.

Initial results indicate that the DHBNM-1 well has encountered approximately 13.5 metres of oil-bearing reservoir in the Upper Gamba sandstone, the primary target reservoir. Drilling will continue through the secondary Dentale target to a total depth of approximately 3,500 metres.

Once total depth is reached, logging operations and evaluation of the oil discovery will be undertaken, after which the operator expects a side-track of DHBNM-1 to be drilled to further appraise the field.


Trident Commences a Three Well Drilling Campaign in Equatorial Guinea

Trident Energy has spudded the first of three wells in its 2021-2022 drilling programme in Block G in the Rio Muni Basin, offshore Equatorial Guinea.

The jack up rig Sapphire Driller, owned by Vantage Driller, commenced drilling operations of the first part of the Elon-C well last Tuesday, June 22, 2021.

If completed as prognosed, Elon-A, Elon-C and Elon-D are expected to offset declining hydrocarbon production in the nearby Ceiba and Okume fields.

In addition to the perforation of the three wells, a tripod structure will be permanently installed in the Elon-C well to support the production equipment and flow lines that lead the flow production fluids to the Okume platform.

The locations of Elon-A, Elon-C and Elon-D , were decided on the basis of the interpretation of the four  dimensional (4D) seismic data, acquired by in the first quarter of 2020.


FAR Will Spud its Second Well in The Gambia in 4Q 2021

Australian explorer FAR Limited, says it has locked in the timetable for drilling the Bambo-1 well offshore The Gambia by executing a contract with Stena Drillmax Ice Limited to commence drilling operations in the fourth quarter of 2021. 

The Bambo-1 well in Block A2 offshore The Gambia, is designed to drill into three prospects with a total estimated recoverable, prospective resource of 1,118MMBbls (arithmetic sum of the Best Estimates, 559MMBbls net to FAR) and the chance of geological success for the various horizons range from 7% to 37%, FAR says in an extensively detailed release.

“These target reservoirs are: 1. Soloo – The extension of the hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs in the adjacent Sangomar Oil Field, offshore Senegal. 2. Bambo and Soloo Deep – two additional prospects, not drilled during the Senegal drilling campaigns”, the company reports. 

These two prospects carry a lower chance of success but higher volume of hydrocarbons, FAR explains. “The technical assessment of the Bambo Prospect has greatly benefited from FAR’s extensive database and experience in the region and learnings from FAR’s involvement in the 11 successful wells in Senegal and the Samo-1 well drilled in 2018”. 

FAR is Operator with a 50% working interest in the A2 and A5 permits with its joint venture partner, PC Gambia Ltd, a subsidiary of Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS). 

If successful, a discovery could result in a standalone development which would be The Gambia’s first oil production.

PACEGATE Commissions Drilling Fluids Manufacturing Plant

By Foluso Ogunsan

PACEGATE Energy & Resources Limited (PEARL) has launched a drilling fluids manufacturing plant in Nigeria and by extension West Africa.

The company will formulate specialised drilling fluids at this ultramodern plant located in Ilupeju, an industrial estate located in the north of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial city.

PEARL says that the oil field chemicals to be produced fall into three categories including:

  • Corrosion Inhibitors, Biocides, Oxygen and H2S Scavengers, Scale/Salt Inhibitors and Desolvers for Asset Protection and Integrity.
  • Demulsifiers, Defoamers, Flocculant and Water Clarifier or Deoiler for Phase Treatment and Separation.
  • Depressants/Removers, Gas Hydrate Inhibitors and Well Stimulation fluids for Flow Assurance and Well Stimulation Chemicals.

Other products include Glycols, Solvents Amines, Alcohol, Industrial Chemicals, Cleaner and degreasers for the refining and transportation industry.

“We are specialised in things that will enhance stability of drilling activity”, the company says. The chemical plant has a production capacity of 12,900 Metric Tonnes per annum.

The idea to venture into manufacturing of drilling chemicals for the upstream hydrocarbon industry, has so impressed the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), that the agency awarded PEARL the “Nigerian Equipment Certificate”, guaranteeing PEARL the first right of refusal to the chemicals produced and coming out of the facility by hydrocarbon producing companies and their service-related affiliates.

PEARL was established in 2020 as an indigenous local content company seeking to provide indigenous oilfield solution via chemistry to the oil and gas drilling, refining and transportation sectors of the economy.  It exclusively represents Canadian Energy Services, its technical partners, in Africa through the ADIPRO.

Manoj Kirpalani, a second generation Indian-Nigerian who is PEARL’s Chairman, traces the history of its existence from 1979 when it was formed by his father as an importer of finished goods to an in-country manufacturer of specialised production chemicals that it is today.

Niyi Adebayo, Nigeria’s Minister of Investments and Trade who formally commissioned the plant, described it as “first local content chemicals manufacturing plant in Nigeria”.

The Ilupeju facility includes a steel drum manufacturing plant, a chemicals manufacturing plant and a laboratory and has a branch in Port-Harcourt, in eastern Nigeria. PEARL also has plans to open up another arm at the Lekki free Trade Zone, a growing industrial suburb in the east of Lagos in the coming years, targeting exports.

“As long as crude oil is still being extracted here, production chemicals are our primary focus. Our secondary focus is gas treatment chemicals as gas grows here”, says Umesh Amarani, PEARL’s Managing Director.

M&P to Return to Development Drilling in Gabon’s Ezanga Permit

By John Ankromah, in Libreville

Paris based, Indonesian owned Maurel et Prom (M&P) is to return to its development drilling campaign in the Ezanga permit, onshore Gabon, in the second half of 2021.

The programme continues the exploration and development drilling campaign on the permit, which started in late 2018, to support the production profile and counteract the fields’ natural depletion. The campaign has utilised two rigs so far.

In the first quarter of 2021 (1Q 2021) M&P’s working interest oil production (80%) on the Ezanga permit was 15,120Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD) (gross production: 18,901BOPD), more or less unchanged from Q4 2020 (15,096BOPD for M&P working interest). Production from the field was limited to 19,000BOPD (or 15,200BOPD net to M&P’s working interest) due to production cuts imposed under OPEC quotas.

M&P is, in addition to the drilling, carrying out an extensive optimization process on the field; is implementing Electric Submersible Pumps (ESPs) services as well as Pigging.


BW Energy Starts a Three Well Drilling Campaign in Gabon

Norwegian independent BW Energy has initiated its 2021 Gabon drilling campaign with the spudding of the Hibiscus Extension well on the Dussafu Marin Permit. This will be followed by drilling at Tortue and Hibiscus North.

The company considers Hibiscus Extension as its largest potential impact well this year.  The Borr Norve jack-up drilling rig will then proceed to drill the final production well at Tortue before drilling another exploration well at Hibiscus North to further test the significant upside at Dussafu.

Hibiscus and Tortue are two out of a total of six discovered fields within the Dussafu Permit offshore Gabon.

The Hibiscus Extension well (DHIBM-2) is located about 56 km offshore Gabon in 119 m water depth. The well is planned as a vertical well to test structure, oil and reservoir presence in what is believed to be a possible northerly extension of the Gamba reservoir in the Hibiscus field. The DHIBM-2 well is positioned approximately 3 km northwest of the Hibiscus discovery well (DHIBM-1) drilled by the joint venture in 2019. The DHIBM-1 well and its appraisal sidetrack established a 2P gross recoverable reserve of 46.1 MMbbls at the Hibiscus field.

The DHIBM-2 well is expected to take around 30 days to drill and log to a total depth of 3,500 metres. In the event of success at DHIBM-2, one or two appraisal sidetracks may be drilled to further delineate the field.

Success at the Hibiscus Extension well and sidetracks could significantly increase the total reserves at Hibiscus. The Hibiscus/Ruche development project, based on the already discovered reserve at Hibiscus, is currently planned to consist of a converted jackup tied back to the FPSO with 12 development wells drilled in two phases, with first oil in early 2023. The additional reserves at Hibiscus, if proven by the DHIBM-2 well, would require additional wells and possibly a converted jackup to fully develop the potential in the area.


Nigeria’s High Well Costs are at the Heart of its CAPEX and OPEX Challenges

By Ahmed Gafar, in Lagos

The astronomically high drilling costs of wells in Nigeria are key to the challenges faced by operators in reining in operating and capital expenses, an industry service provider has suggested.

If Africa’s highest crude oil producer is to reach its target of delivering Four Million Barrels of Oil Per day (4MMBOPD) in the near term, those costs need to be brought down, argues Hope Okwa, Founder/ Managing Director of Hd Okwa Drilling Services.

Hope Okwa

“A 10,000 feet well producing only 3,000 BOPD costs up to $25Million to construct in Nigeria”, Okwa allows. “To move from the current 1.5MMBOPD to 4MMBOPD requires massive well construction activities, in the order of over 800 wells per year. The associated investment is $21Billion per annum. Where will this investment come from, especially in an era where top global financiers are moving their investment to renewables?”. 

Okwa is persuasive that he is not just throwing numbers around: “$25Million per well cost is true for land, swamp and shallow offshore, as the rigs all use surface blowout preventers.

“The only way is to rethink well construction efficiency, with a view to drastically reducing well costs from current levels”, he contends. “The sources of inefficiencies in well construction, is very much within our expertise”, Okwa declares: “it is very urgent to implement these solutions”, as “in nine (9) years’ time in 2030, the advanced countries will pivot away from fossil fuel.  What will then happen to Nigeria’s reserves of 37Billion BO?”


Okwa’s benchmark is North America. “In Canada/USA, the rig rate for land is $32,000/day compared with $25,000/day for Nigeria. A 10,000 feet land well takes eight (8) days to drill while it takes 83 days in Nigeria. The Canada/USA cost is less than $2Million, while Nigeria is $25Million. The Canadians and Americans achieve the success by efficient well design (without gold plating as we do in Nigeria, efficient supply chain management, avoiding NPT and applying the science of drilling optimisation. We are experts in these areas. I should add that we are currently preparing to execute a $5Million horizontal well for a Nigerian marginal operator, applying our techniques”..  

Cost control in oilfield activities has been a front burner issue in Nigeria. Last February, the state hydrocarbon company NNPC had an elaborate event on cost optimization, at which Timipre Silva, Minister of State for petroleum, asked the country’s 34 oil and gas producing companies to join in working towards reducing operations cost to achieve the $10 or less per barrel production cost target.

Stakeholders have responded to Ministry of Petroleum’s call for cost control by naming causes including insecurity (You need gunboats full of naval officers on the way to rig-site) and taxation (government at all levels level multiple taxes: DPR hikes costs of obligatory services, State Governments demand various tariffs, Local Governments harass operators; communities hold up work; regulators sometimes delay). 

Okwa counters that “those issues relate to production mainly, and companies are having to trade off drilling wells due to the issues mentioned and high well cost”. 


Okwa has 29 years industry experience, the first 14 of which he spent in AngloDutch Shell, mostly on well engineering and drilling supervision. He had a stint at BG (the defunct British Gas) as a senior well engineer in the company’s Nigerian deepwater operations. He had a five year stretch as senior drilling and workover well engineer on critical gas operations at Saudi Aramco, after which he had another stint at BP Angola as senior drilling engineer.

“We believe that if we reduce well costs drastically.. we will be able to stimulate activities”, he says. “If we reduce well cost from $25Million to just $5Million hypothetically speaking, requiring only 20% of the previous investment demands, even local banks may be able to fund field development campaigns.

The full interview is in the link

Decklar Moves A Rig for Oza-1 Re-entry

Canadian minnow Decklar Resources has contracted a 1300 HP trailer-mounted drilling rig that is currently located in Port Harcourt, approximately 60 km from the Oza Oil Field in Nigeria’s Niger Delta Basin.

The drilling rig will be used for the re-entry and testing of the Oza-1 well, then immediately followed by the drilling of a horizontal development well from the Oza-1 drilling pad. 

Oza field is a marginal field operated by Millennium Oil &Gas, currently producing no more than 400Barrels a day. 

Decklar Resources has consummated a risk service agreement with Millennium Oil &Gas and its partners on the field, to fund and technically operate a revamp which will lead to increase in output.

The company says that drilling of additional development wells is planned after completion and analysis of the re-entry and horizontal wells at the Oza-1 location. 

It is anticipated that the drilling rig will commence its mobilization to the Oza Field in the week of April 12, 2021, with the move expected to take approximately seven days. 

Further, the camp to house the personnel engaged to provide support for operations and related logistics facilities is currently being moved and set up at the Oza Oil Field. 

Additionally, equipment and supplies with longer lead times that are needed to test and complete the Oza-1 well as part of the re-entry activities have been ordered, secured, and are expected to arrive in Nigeria over the next two to five weeks. Service contractors have been sourced and contracted for the near-term operational activities.

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