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Technical Challenges Force a Halt to FAR’s Bambo 1 Drilling in The Gambia

Drilling operations were temporarily halted at 3,216 metres Measured Depth below rotary table after significant fluid losses were experienced in Bambo-1, currently being drilled offshore Gambia by the Australian independent FAR.

“These fluid losses were stabilised in accordance with standard offshore operating procedures, and FAR is now planning to plug and side-track the well to continue drilling to the planned total depth (PTD)”, the company says in a release. Prior to side-tracking and provided hole conditions remain stable, FAR is undertaking a wireline logging programme in the current well bore.

The probe is already close to the ptd, which is 3450metres Measured depth below rotary table.

FAR says that oil indications have been detected in roc cuttings and hydrocarbons have been interpreted across several intervals in the well from LWD (logging whilst drilling) data, but “further wireline logging needs to be completed to confirm the finding”.

The operator is concerned that “the addition of the side-track programme has extended the period of operations which is now expected to be completed by the end of December 2021”.

The well has been designated a “tight hole” by FAR and JV partner Petronas and as such, no information related to depth or formation is likely to be provided during the drilling beyond what is required to meet ASX continuous disclosure obligations.

Market participants should exercise care before transacting in FAR shares until such time as FAR, as Operator of the Joint Venture, makes formal ASX disclosures regarding well results.

FAR estimates that the cost to complete the well will increase from a total of $51.4Million to $61.27Million, an increase of $9.87Million or $4.935M net to FAR.


TOTAL, Searching for Hub sized African Plays, Spuds the Long Awaited Venus-1

TOTALEnergies has spud the Venus-1X offshore exploration well in Namibia’s Block 2913B (PEL 56).

The well is being drilled in 3,000metres water depth by the Maersk Voyager drillship.

Venus-1 is one of the several wells proposed for drilling in Africa by International Oil Companies, that will probe prospects in deeper water than have ever before been tested (TOTALEnergies’ just concluded Ondjaba – 1 offshore Angola, in water depth of 3,600metres is another); test basins that have never been drilled before (e.g. Invictus Energy’s proposed Mzarabani – 1 in Zimbabwe) or be the first exploratory well ever drilled in a country (Galp’s Jaca-1 in Sao Tome et Principe (STP), outside the unified zone of Nigeria and STP ). 

The Mzarabani 1 well by Invictus Energy will target structurally trapped gas in a 200-sq-km closure of the Mzarabani anticline which runs along the southern margin of the basin. The well’s primary target will be in the Upper Triassic Angwa Formation with potential multi Tcf of gas in place. This relatively low-cost exploration well is strategically positioned to find hydrocarbons for supply into the Southern African market.

TOTALEnergies holds a 40% interest in Block 2913B, Qatar Energy holds a 30% interest, NAMCOR, the Namibian state oil company, holds a 10% interest. Impact Oil & Gas holds a 20% interest. 

FAR Commences Second Well in The Gambia

FAR, the Australian independent, has commenced drilling on the Bambo-1 exploration well in Block A2, offshore The Gambia.

The Stena Ice Max drillship arrived on site on 12 November Gambian time and after completing preparations, has successfully spudded the well.

The Bambo-1 well is located approximately 85kilometres offshore The Gambia, in 930 metres of water depth and is planned to be drilled to a depth of approximately 3,400 metres.

The drilling campaign is expected to take approximately 30 days. The well is designed to drill into a series of vertically stacked targets with a combined estimated recoverable, prospective resource of 1,118 MMbbls (arithmetic sum of the Best Estimates, un-risked, 559 MMbbls net to FAR*) and FAR calculates the chance of geological success for the various horizons to range from 7% to 36%. The targets are: 1. Bambo (S390 & S400) – two shallower horizons not previously intersected. 2. Soloo (S410 & S440) – the extension of the hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs in the adjacent Sangomar Oil Field, Senegal. 3. Soloo Deep (S552 & S562) – two additional horizons, also not previously penetrated.

Soloo Deep has a lower chance of success but higher potential volumes.

Valaris on Call to Bolster Angola’s Rig Count

The drilling company Valaris Limited has announced it has been awarded a two-year contract with Esso Exploration Angola, an affiliate of ExxonMobil, offshore Angola for drillship VALARIS DS-9.

The rig is currently preservation stacked in the Canary Islands, where it will be reactivated and then mobilized to Angola ahead of the anticipated contract commencement in June 2022.

VALARIS DS-9 will thus be bolstering the number of Angola’s active drilling rigs, which currently include Sonangol Libongos, Transocean Skyros and SKD Jaya, drilling for ENI, TOTAL and Chevron respectively, as well as several other rigs (See link), making a count of nine rigs (including one other Valaris rig) active in the country.

Angola produces around 1.1Million Barrels of Oil Per Day.



Shearwater to Acquire ‘Carpet Sized’ 3D Survey for Shell in South Africa

Shell and its partner Impact Africa Limited have awarded a large, ‘carpet sized’ three dimensional (3D) seismic acquisition survey to Shearwater GeoServices Holding.

The survey, to commence in 2022, will cover over 6,000 square kilometres of acreage in the Transkei & Algoa exploration permit in the ultradeep waters (water depths up to 3,000 metres) of the Indian ocean offshore Kwazulu Natal province in eastern South Africa.

The large size notwithstanding, the project will cover less than one-seventh of the 45,838km² that is the permit’s licence area.

The Transkei & Algoa licence, known as Exploration Right 12/3/252,  was initially awarded to Impact Africa Limited as a Technical Cooperation Permit in 2012, followed by an application for an Exploration Right, which was granted in 2014.

The project is planned to last approximately four-months and the data will be acquired by the Amazon Warrior, currently working for TOTALEnergies offshore Angola.

Shell finalized the acquisition of a 50% operated stake from Impact Africa in the permit in August 2021


Amni Petroleum Scrambles to Drill Offshore Ghana in 2022

Eco Atlantic, GOSCO and Amni Petroleum are each planning to spud their first obligatory wells in the acreages they operate in Ghana in the second quarter of 2022.

Eco Atlantic, operator of Deepwater Cape Three Points West Offshore is working on Dawadawa-1X for drilling in Q2 2022. Amni International is making progress towards the Q2 2022  spud of Kusia 1X, in  the Central Tano acreage, which it manages. Meanwhile, GNPC Operating Services Company Ltd GOSCO, operator of Offshore South-West Tano, is planning towards drilling Mansonia1X in Q2 2022.

Ghana’s Public Interest and Accountability Committee, reports that the Minister of Energy has granted these three E&P operators a restitution time of between eight and nine months to to compensate for the time lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and reschedule their work programmes, because of the effect of COVID 19 in their operations. In each of the three cases, PIAC reports, well planning and drilling related procurement of goods and services are ongoing.

If these spuds actually take place, it would be a boon time for Ghanaian drilling.

Most of the country’s operators have sat on their acreages, with no drilling activity, for upwards of five years.

ExxonMobil, which operates Deepwater Cape Three Points, was similarly granted a restitution time of nine months to conduct a holistic assessment of the commerciality of opportunities in the Contract Area. The US major, however, voluntarily relinquished its rights to the Deepwater Cape Three Points Contract Area in May 2021.

Rig Count Unchanged in Nigeria, Month on Month, in September 2021

Seventeen rigs were actively drilling, one was completing, another on workover a third on standby and a fourth in transition to a location, making a total of 21 rigs accounted for on Nigerian locations in the first week of September 2021, data compiled by Africa Oil+Gas Report (AOGR) shows.

The rig on standby, an onshore rig St Elaine..Click here to read full article

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.


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