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BW Energy Announces ‘New Oil’ in Gabon’s Hibiscus South

The Norwegian explorer, BW Energy has announced that the DHBSM-1 appraisal well has encountered commercial volumes of oil in the Hibiscus South satellite prospect. The company plans to return to the well to complete it as a production well in early 2024.

The DHBSM-1 well was drilled from the MaBoMo production platform to a total depth of 6,002 metres. The target area is located approximately five kilometres southwest of the MaBoMo and was drilled by the Borr Norve jack-up rig.

“Evaluation of logging data, sample examination and formation pressure measurements confirm approximately 20 metres of pay in an overall hydrocarbon column of 26.5 metres in the Gamba formation”, BW Energy explains in a statement.

“The well data confirms that the Hibiscus South structure is a separate accumulation with a deeper oil-water contact than the nearby Hibiscus Field.  This will enable the Company to book additional reserves not currently included in its annual statement of reserves and provide the opportunity to drill one or more additional production wells from the MaBoMo facility.

Preliminary evaluation indicates gross recoverable reserves of 6 to 7Million barrels of oil and approximately 16 million barrels of oil in place, in line with the mid-case pre-drill expectations reported prior to the commencement of drilling operations.

Only Five Wells Drilled in Ghana in all of Six Months

By Fred Akanni, in Accra

The drillship Noble Venturer was the only rig active in Ghana for the entire first half of 2023.

It was active on a total of nine wells on one field: the Jubilee field, in the country’s western offshore.

Out of the nine probes, Noble Venturer was drilling in five and completing in four wells during those six months.

The rig drilled J62-WI, a Water Injector, J64-P, an Oil Producer, J65-WI Water Injector, J64-P, an Oil Producer and J66-P Oil Producer. In the same period, it completed J61-P, an Oil Producer, J64-P Oil Producer. J65-WI, a Water Injector and J63-P Oil Producer.

There was no rigsite activity by any other company, including ENI, the only major oil firm operating in the country.

Norwegian junior, Aker Energy, which has reached a development stage on Deepwater Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP, had only received approval ,as of May 2023, for the new Field Development Plan.

Most E&P firms operating in Ghana are third tier independents with little risk appetite and dismal execution capacity. One company no longer has Ghana included on its presentation profile, but the authorities keep publishing claims that it has a work programme it is executing.

Angolan Rig Count Declines; the Country Moderates Output Ambition

Angolan rig activity fell slightly in September 2023, with, twelve (12) drilling units in operation, compared with 14 rigs active in August 2023.

The country’s crude oil output also continued on a downward slope for the third consecutive month in September 2023. The output was 1,112,685 barrels of oil (BOPD), compared with August 2023’s daily average of 1,128,878BOPD.

It was a mere 1.4% output drop, but Angola has declared it was pausing the ambition to reach 1.2MMBOPD, at least until sometime in 2024. Belarmino Chitangueleca, executive director at the National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG), reportedly told Reuters on October 18, 2023, that Angola expects to maintain its current crude oil production of 1.1MMBOPD into 2024. That’s a revision of the statement made in June 2023 by Ana Miala, the ANPG’s director of production, that the country wants “to reach, and stay around, a production of .1.2MMBOPD, in the medium term”.

At the drill sites, seven (7) drill ships, (Sonandril West Gemini, Sonangol Libongos, Valaris DS-09, Sonangol Quenguela, Transocean Skyros, Valaris DS 12 and Sapem 12000 one (1) Tension Leg Platform TLP-A, and SKD Jaya Tender were working in the deepwater, with one (1) Jack Up, Shelf Drilling’s  Tenaciou active in shallow water. There were two land drilling rigs: a FALCON HP-1000 and SA_02 land rigs.

These units carried out work in twenty-six (26) wells, compared with 27 wells in August 2023.


Chinese Sloppiness Fingered for Fatality as Uganda Halts Operations at an Oil Field

The Petroleum Authority Uganda (PAU) has ordered immediate halt to all operations at the Kingfisher oilfield development in the country, citing safety concerns in which the Authority emphasized it underscores the importance of ensuring the safety of oilfield workers and minimizing risks in the oil and gas sector.

The order follows a fatal accident in the area that occurred on October 6, 2023, which resulted in the death of one of the sub-contractor’s staff members.

A motor accident claimed the life of a security guard at the gate of one of the camps of the CNOOC Uganda Ltd (CUL), in Buhuka, Kyangwali sub county in Kikube District.

PAU’s executive director, Ernest Rubondo, stated that the accident was deemed unacceptable, especially considering previous incidents that the agency had brought to the attention of (CUL), the operator of the field.

Kingfisher project

In accordance with Section 177 of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act, 2013, the PAU directed CUL to halt all Kingfisher field development operations from 00.00 hours on Saturday, October 7, 2023, until further notice.

The PAU  also convened a meeting of top executives from joint venture partners, which include CNOOC, TotalEnergies, and Uganda National Oil Company, to review the situation and provide guidance regarding the ongoing oilfield developments.

The Kingfisher project operated by CNOOC, is one of Uganda’s oilfields undergoing intensified drilling works with the aim of being ready for oil production by 2025. The project includes the development of a central processing facility (CPF), 31 wells (including 20 producers and 11 injectors), over four well pads and 19kilometres of flowlines adjoining the CPF. The first well was spudded in January 2023.

The field development also includes the development of a lake water abstraction station and other infrastructure such as temporary and permanent camps, a materials yard and access roads.

The production from the field is expected to be 40,000 barrels per day, which will start to decline after five years.

TOTALEnergies-operated Tilenga project is projected to produce 190,000 barrels per day at peak production.

Second Well Commences in Zimbabwe’s Frontier Probe

The Australian junior, Invictus Energy, has reported the spud of Mukuyu-2 well at its 80% owned and operated Cabora Bassa Project in Zimbabwe.

The company says it is on track to complete drilling and evaluation within estimated 50-60 days. In that period it is expected to have drilled to a planned total depth of 3,750 metres and conducted petrophysical evaluation of the well

Since the last update, the Exalo Rig 202 has drilled the 17 ½” surface hole section down to a depth of approximately 496m Measured Depth (“MD”).

Rig 202 will continue to drill ahead in the 12 ¼” inch intermediate hole section through the Dande and Forest targets to a planned total section depth of approximately 2,040metre Measured Depth (MD) within the Pebbly Arkose formation before running a wireline logging evaluation suite and then setting the 9 ⅝” casing.

After setting the 9 ⅝” casing the rig will drill ahead in the 8 ½” hole section through the reminder of the Pebbly Arkose through to the primary targets in the Upper Angwa (Alternations Member) and to the Lower Angwa (Massive Member) to approximately 3,750 metres MD before running a wireline logging evaluation suite.

Mukuyu-2 Well Objectives

Mukuyu-2 will test the primary target interval, the Triassic Upper Angwa formation, sitting approximately 450metres updip from Mukuyu-1 where hydrocarbons were intersected.

The well will also penetrate multiple additional targets including the Dande (JurassicCretaceous), Forest and Pebbly Arkose (both Triassic) formations, as well as the previously untested Lower Angwa sequence within the Mukuyu anticline in the central horst structure. Invictus  will provide regular updates as the drilling campaign progresses.

ENI Scouts for A Rig for Coral North Drilling in Mozambique

Italian explorer ENI is looking to contract a rig to carry out drilling, completion and testing of four wells, in Coral Norte project offshore Mozambique, with start-up scheduled for the third quarter of 2024.

ENI has proposed Coral Norte as the second floating liquified natural Gas (FLNG) project, to drain reserves in Mozambique’s Area 4.

The first project, Coral Sul FLNG, commenced delivery of its first cargo in August 2022.

ENI is designing Coral Norte FLNG, as an exact copy of Coral Sul FLNG; with the same capacity for 3.3Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum, as it has for Coral Norte FLNG.

Building a second platform is considered as an efficient way to maximise the profitability of the gas resources discovered in the Coral structure.

The planned investment in Coral Norte is $7Billion and will still be subject to approval by the Mozambican government.

Coral Norte will be stationed 10 kilometres north of Coral Sul, the first project to take advantage of the large reserves in the deepwater Rovuma Basin.

ENI’s proposal consists of production commencement in the second half of 2027, meaning it could start up before the onshore projects, which depend on the consolidation of security conditions in the face of threats of terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado.

ENI is looking for drilling rig that must, among other characteristics, have a nominal water depth of 3,000 metres and a minimum drilling depth of 5,500 metres.. The rig must also be able to operate in conditions of strong sea currents with a suitable riser drilling system.



CGG Commences Côte d’Ivoire Reimaging Project near Baleine Field

CGG has announced the start of a major new multi-client three-dimensional (3D) Pre-stack depth migration PSDM reimaging programme in the Tano Basin offshore Côte d’Ivoire.

CGG is carrying out the project in association with the country’s Direction Générale des Hydrocarbures (DGH) and national oil company, PETROCI Holding (PETROCI).

The 6,400 sq km reimaged seismic data set near the recent world-class Baleine field will give interested industry operators unique insight into this high-potential new play.

The project is supported by industry funding and expected to complete by the end of 2024, with a fast-track volume available in Q1 2024.

CGG claims it will draw on its “two decades of geoscience experience in Côte d’Ivoire to reimage the 3D seismic data with its latest proprietary technologies, including time-lag Full waveform inversion (FWI), Q-compensated full waveform inversion (QFWI), and the potential application of targeted FWI imaging”.

The team, the company says, will also conduct a regional interpretation of the project area to provide a better understanding of the distribution of the highly prospective clastic and carbonate plays in the Tano basin.

Dechun Lin, EVP, Earth Data, said: “The recent discovery of the Baleine field has led to heightened exploration interest in offshore Côte d’Ivoire. Our reimaging project is the first of its kind to utilize cutting-edge technology to enable confident evaluation at a prospect as well as regional level, to give a better picture of the subsurface in this world-class basin.

The resulting ultramodern data set will offer unique access to near-field exploration opportunities, placing IOCs a step ahead in fast-tracking the development of these high-impact prospects.”

Sonangol Drills Ahead on a Rare Onshore Asset in Luanda Province

Sonangol has spud a well in the Block KON11, onshore Kwanza Basin, with the operation of “Poço Tobias-13”), located in the commune of Cabo Ledo, municipality of Quissama, province of Luanda.

The drilling is coming 27 years after the company disbanded its operations from the area.

The well is expected to reach a total depth of between 700 and 800 meters.

The company has assessed the field, which is marginal, as holding an estimated volume of six million barrels

Sonangol operates KON11, with 30 percent stake. Partners include Brite’s Oil and Gas (25 percent), Grupo Simples (20 percent), Atlas Petroleum Exploration (20 percent) and Omega (5 percent).

In attendance at the spudding event were Diamantino Azevedo, the Angolan Minister of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, Paulino Jerónimo, President of the Board of Directors of ANPG, Sebastião Gaspar Martins, President of Sonangol’s Board of Directors and Clementina Palma, the communal administrator of Cabo Ledo, as well as administrators, Block manager, and managers assigned to the oil companies.

Will the Gold Rush for Offshore Rigs Continue into 2024?

By Gerard Kreeft

Gold rush fever has hit the offshore oil and gas market.

True, oil companies are proving to be skimpy with their needed investments and the oil prices (Brent) are holding relatively stable at $85.
Yet a tightening deepwater rig market, and a decreased number of deepwater basins from which to explore, have created a specialist market. The rig owners who own the deepwater drillships and rigs are virtually in a monopoly position and are able to extract day rates approaching $500,000; day rates not seen since 2014-2015.

Deepwater operators, anxious to maintain continuity of their exploration and production operations, are faced with fewer deeper basins to explore, and reduced budgets given the competition of new energy.

What can we anticipate? More gold rush fever?

The Case of the Operators

In a 2021 study of deepwater basins, Andrew Latham, Wood Mackenzie’s Vice President  for Energy Research, predicted that deepwater upstream growth was expected to rise to over 17MillionBOEPD(barrels of oil equivalent per day) by 2030 from 10MillionBOEPD. He concluded that almost half of oil and gas reserves being sanctioned over the next 5 years will come from deepwater. Why are deepwater plays so important?

Simply because of reservoir fundamentals.

Deepwater reservoirs produce substantially more than shallow or onshore reservoirs. Estimated Ultimate Recovery (EUR) in deepwater averages 12Million Barrels of Oil Equivalent Per Day (12MMBOEPD)  for oil wells and 43MMBOEPD for gas wells. Future deepwater fields enjoy twice the average EUR of fields already on stream, reflecting the industry’s success in Guyana and Brazil’s Santos Basins.

Brazil has an average EUR of 14MMBOEPD per well.

Angola has an average EUR of 10MMBOEPD per well.

Nigeria has an average EUR of 16MMBOEPD per well.

Guyana has an average EUR of 24MMBOEPD per well.

 Average EUR for gas wells up to 2009 was 31MMBOEPD; that has now jumped to 90MMBOEPD, based on gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean, Mozambique, Mauritania and Senegal.

Rystad estimates that oil and gas consumption will continue at a rate of 100MMBOEPD per day through 2024. The breakeven price for developing 83% of undeveloped reserves is $65 per barrel. Offshore capex for 2023 is estimated at $191Billion and $198Billion for 2024.

In WoodMac’s analysis, much of the deepwater exploration will  take place within the golden triangle— meaning– Latin America (Brazil, Guyana and Suriname); North America (US Gulf of Mexico, and Mexico) and Africa (Atlantic Margin and East Africa gas). These three regions plus the eastern Mediterranean account for 75% of global deepwater rig demand.

The Case of the Drillers

Currently, the total benign floater supply has declined to 156 units from a peak of 281 in 2014. Three contractors—Transocean(38), Valaris(51), and Noble(32)–own 121 of these rigs, creating a near monopoly. Their share prices have skyrocketed between July 2021-June 2023:

Transocean increasing 40%;

Valaris increasing 153%; and

Noble increasing 200%.

Table 1: Stock market prices of rig owners  July 2021- June 2023


Rig utilization for benign ultra-deepwater hit 90% in the last few months with current day rates of $470,000/day – only marginally below the 2014 peak. Demand momentum will continue through 2025.

There are only 10 competitive warm or cold stacked drillships remaining.  Only eight (8) newbuild drillships remain in the South Korean shipyards. Will the demand gap set off a new building spree? Not likely. Drilling contractors will be reluctant to commit to new builds without long-term contracts, which operators are unlikely to offer. Many rig owners will continue to manage and enhance margins on their existing fleet, while taking the lower-risk option of reactivating the most capable and viable stacked rigs under firm contracts.

Future building of new rigs will depend on timing: wells drilled in 2023 could lead to new oil supplies by 2030 and payback time perhaps by 2035; deepwater gas wells require a longer lead time.

Final Remarks

The deepwater play has become a specialist market between oil and gas companies and the drilling fraternity. Their relationship, though fraught with ongoing bickering regarding dayrates and rig availability remains a prisoners’ dilemma: each requiring the other to ensure project closure.

 Gerard Kreeft, BA (Calvin University, Grand Rapids, USA) and MA (Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada), Energy Transition Adviser, was founder and owner of EnergyWise.  He has managed and implemented energy conferences, seminars and university master classes in Alaska, Angola, Brazil, Canada, India, Libya, Kazakhstan, Russia and throughout Europe.  Kreeft has Dutch and Canadian citizenship and resides in the Netherlands.  He writes on a regular basis for Africa Oil + Gas Report, and is a guest contributor to IEEFA(Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis). His book ‘The 10 Commandments of the Energy Transition ‘is on sale at https://books.friesenpress.com/store/title/119734000211674846/Gerard-Kreeft-The-10-Commandments-of-the-Energy-Transition




Sonangol Prepares to Return to Drill in Onshore Kwanza Basin


Angola’s upstream petroleum regulator ANPG is, with the E& P arm of the state hydrocarbon firm Sonangol, preparing the grounds for drilling and evaluation of Block KON11, in the Kwanza Onshore Basin, in Luanda, “with technical procedures in progress to guarantee the execution of the contract within the safety standards and respect for the environment required by the industry.

The execution of the operations of the Block, which had been inactive since 1996, is the responsibility of the consortium formed by Sonangol Pesquisa e Produção (with 30%), as operator, Brite’s Oil & Gas (with 25%), Grupo Simples Oil, and Atlas Petroleum Exploration Worldwide (which own 20% each), as well as Omega Risk Solutions Angola (with 5%). This concession was awarded under the 2020 Bid.

If the drilling shows positive results, the consortium will then proceed with the survey of geological and geophysical data (G&G), with the aim of improving the mapping of the Block’s structures, without jeopardizing the preliminary development aimed at restarting production.

The resumption of exploration activities in Block KON11 represents an important milestone for the Angolan oil industry, as it is the effective reactivation of operations in an onshore block without activity since the 90s, namely in the adverse context of the current global economic situation.

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