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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.

US Minnow Claims “Unprecedented” Discovery in Egypt’s Western Desert

By Mohammed Jetutu, in Cairo

American junior IPR Energy Group has announced a new find in the Alamein/Yidma Concession in Egypt’s Western Desert, where it holds a 100% Working Interest.

The company describes it as a “major, unprecedented find”, even though it says it encountered only 27 feet of net pay in the Lower Kharita reservoir.

Admittedly, test results delivering an average production rate of 3,300Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD) at 36°API with less

than 1% BS&W on a ½ in. choke is huge for an oil well in Egypt, where reservoirs hardly do up to 1,000BOPD.

Alamein 48-K was drilled to a depth of 8,960 ft utilizing the IPR-1 750 HP Drilling Rig, while testing and completion was carried out with the IPR-2 350 HP Workover Unit at a total cost of $1.55Million.

The well will be completed with an Electrical Submersible Pup (ESP) and immediately put onstream through the existing Alamein/Yidma facilities.

“This well has unlocked major potential in the Lower Kharita formation, and we will work to delimit this prolific reservoir throughout the Development Lease parallel to implementing waterflooding plans”, said Mahmoud K. Dabbous, the operator’s Chairman & CEO.

IPR acquired Phillips Petroleum’s Egypt portfolio in 1993 and continues to be the Operator after 30 years.

IPR has produced over 34 million barrels of oil from Alamein/Yidma, and the lease is now producing over 6,500 BOPD, substantially raising IPR’s total output in Egypt from eight concessions. IPR is currently amending the Alamein/Yidma Concession Agreement, which will enhance the fiscal terms for IPR and promote aggressive future investments. Over the course of its time in Egypt, IPR has invested approximately $1 billion in the Egyptian Petroleum Sector.

“Texas headquartered IPR Energy Group is a consortium of multi-faceted companies across the globe that conducts onshore and offshore operated and non-operated exploration and production (E&P), as well as field services and integrated technology packages of engineering, geoscience studies, and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) field development. IPR is a Board Member of the U.S.-Egypt Business Council, which promotes commercial and political relations between the two countries in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt”, the company says on its website.

ENI’s Alleged Duster in Mozambique is Just a Regular Day at Work

By Fred Akanni, Editor in Chief

So much has been read into the alleged failure of the Italian player, ENI, to make a discovery with the recently drilled well in Mozambique’s frontier Angoche basin.

“ENI’s Mozambican well failure spoils hope for East African oil find”, screams Zitamar News, one of Mozambique’s most authoritative online news sites.

ENI itself has not made any announcement about the status of Raia-1, the widely anticipated wildcat, located in concession Block A5-A in the Angoche basin, off the coast of Nampula province, since drilling ended in June 2023.

The allegedly poor result of Raia-1 “is clearly bad news for deepwater exploration in Mozambique”, Zitamar News quotes David Thomson, vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa at Welligence Energy Analytics.

All of this is hyperbole.

If there is anything to learn from hydrocarbon exploration history of Africa in the last 30 years, it is not to assume that a dry hole experience in any part of  a frontier basin is a definitive signal of absence of huge volumes of hydrocarbon, or for that matter, the likelihood of other companies cancelling their plans for drilling in the vicinity, as the Zitamar News story elaborately sets out to establish.

Neither the reported misgivings of officials of Wellingence Energy nor the frustrated comments of the bosses at Enervous, a market intelligence entity, says anything about the pre-drill geologic expectations of the well and what ENI may have missed.

None of the commentaries have indicated any knowledge of the petrophysical results of Raia-1, which are likely to have been shared with the state hydrocarbon firm ENH (Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos) and the regulatory agency INP (Instituto Nacional de Petróleo).

ENI operates Block A5-A with a 49.5% stake. Other equity holders include QatarEnergy, 25.5%; Sasol, 10% and ENH, 15%.


The Majestic Rig: Second Time Unlucky and Fatal

By Macson Obojemuinmoin, in Warri

The swamp barge Majestic, the drilling facility which capsized in the waters on the way to a drilling location on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, was unlucky for the second time in five years. This time it was fatal.

Majestic was engulfed in fire after it had just finished carrying out a re-completion on one of the wells on Conoil operated Ango field, located in Koluama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, on Saturday, May 26, 2018.

But unlike the recent accident, the fire did not take a life.

Last Tuesday, the rig, owned by Depthwize, had also just completed a well on the Gbetiokun field for the NEPL/Elcrest joint venture and was on its way to another drill site on the Seplat Energy operated Ovhor field, in Delta state, when it capsized, killing one of the 95 crew members and leaving three others unaccounted for.

“Of the other 92 crew members, 10 were admitted to hospital and stayed overnight”, Seplat said in a second press release in 48 hours. “We are pleased to say the 10 crew members have all now been discharged from hospital”.

Seplat’s Chief Executive Officer Roger Brown noted that the company “continues to support Depthwize with the emergency response and rescue efforts continue, with the priority being the search and rescue of the three missing crew members”. He added that “Depthwize has notified Seplat that the single recorded fatality was a British national. The families of the deceased and the 3 missing crew members have been informed by Depthwize”.

Garba Adamu, spokesperson for Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), told Africa Oil+Gas Report that the affected companies  have reported the incident andNUPRC will issue a statement accordingly”.

The Fire Last Time

The fire that engulfed the Majestic in 2018 burnt down significant parts of the rig, but did not affect the well. Major Abdullahi Ibrahim, spokesman of the Operation Delta Safe (ODS), an arm of the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, was quoted saying at the time that all personnel on board the rig were successfully evacuated.

The fire on the Majestic happened two years after an accident on an ExxonMobil pipeline which led to some curtailment in Depthwize’s operational activity. In mid May 2016, the Monarch another Depthwize owned rig, impacted the pipeline which pumped hydrocarbon fluids from Oso condensate and Usari oil fields to the ExxonMobil terminal at Qua Iboe. The damage on the pipeline was severe enough to cause a halt to a portion of ExxonMobil’s entire crude oil production. Depthwize’s insurance paid for the repairs on the pipeline, as it did to fix the burnt rig later.




Australian Junior Mobilises Rig for Second Well in Zimbabwe

Invictus Energy has commenced the mobilization of the land rig Exalo Rig 202 to Mukuyu-2, its second probe in Zimbabwe’s Cabora Bassa Basin.

The well is on track to spud in September 2023.

“The Mukuyu-2 well will be located approximately 6.8 kilometres north-east from Mukuyu-1 and over 400 metres updip at the primary Upper Angwa target, which provides the potential to prove up a material discovery upon success, Invictus says.

Mukuyu-2 will be a near vertical well with a planned total depth of approximately 3,700 metres, which will also enable Invictus to penetrate the untested Lower Angwa reservoirs in this location.

Mukuyu-2 is targeting a prominent horst block within the greater Mukuyu structural closure.

The primary target interval, the Triassic Upper Angwa Formation, sits approximately 400 metres shallower at Mukuyu-2 than at Mukuyu-1.

“This location will provide excellent information on the distribution and reservoir quality of Upper Angwa sands”, according to the interpretation of Invictus’ geoscientists.

“The Mukuyu-2 well trajectory is planned to be near vertical from the surface location (maximum inclination of 12°) to provide optimal penetration of several stratigraphic intervals within the same structural horst block, while minimising operational complexity for both drilling and formation evaluation activities. The well will also penetrate multiple additional targets including the Dande (JurassicCretaceous), Forest and Pebbly Arkose (both Triassic) Formations within the Mukuyu anticline in the central horst structure”.

“The preparation of the well services equipment to be followed by independent QAQC (Quality Assurance and Quality Control) ahead of mobilisation to the Mukuyu-2 wellsite is well underway and we remain on track to spud in September 2023”, the company explains.


At Last, NNPC Spuds the Nasarawa Well, Four Months After Elaborate “Kick Off” Ceremony

By Macson Obojemuinmoin

Nigeria’s state hydrocarbon company NNPC Ltd. has finally spud Ebenyi-A in Nasarawa State, four months after an elaborate ritual officially described as the “spudding event”.

The company is also frantically working to spud the Wadi-B in Borno state, tentatively by the second week of August, 2023.

NNPC Ltd. had staged two events on the drill sites of the two wells that gave the impression that drilling had commenced.

The spud date for Ebenyi-A, which means the date that the drilling actually began, was July 22, 2023, close to four months after the event at which former President Muhammadu Buhari “kicked off the exploratory drilling campaign”.

The one-trimester- of- a- year delay was largely due to logistical challenges thrown up by access to water required for drilling.

In effect, President Buhari’s widely reported “kicking off of the exploratory drilling campaign”, on March 28, 2023, was at best ceremonial, as it did not translate to actual spudding the well. The NNPC had described the ceremony as the spudding of the Ebenyi-A Well, the first in the Middle Benue Trough’.

NNPC’s press release reported at the time: “Speaking at the ‘spudding’ of the Ebenyi-A Well, President Muhammadu Buhari said the move was in line with the ongoing campaigns for the exploration of crude oil and gas in the nation’s frontier basins.

“The President listed the assets the nation intends to explore as those in the Chad Basin, Dahomey Basin, Anambra Platform, the Calabar Embankment, Sokoto Basin, Bida Basin, Benue Trough as well as the Ultra-Deepwater Niger Delta”.

Following similar, Presidential “kicking off” of Wadi-B well in Bornu State, NNPC was also presented with a technical disruption; heavy rains washed off the constructs of the drill site, such that the pre-drill infrastructure had to be re-installed.

NNPC Ltd has carried out extensive geological mapping and geochemical sampling, as well as stress field surveys in several basins in the north of the country in the last six years. Based on the results of these surveys, it acquires focused three dimensional (3D) seismic data, which is how it arrived at the specific drilling locations in Nasarawa.

“When we shoot 3Ds, we are prospect specific. It is not random”, NNPC insiders say. “If we make a find, we’d drill one or two appraisal wells and then offer the blocks up to the private sector for development”.

The proposed Wadi-B drilling is the latest incarnation of the Chad basin campaign, in Nigeria’s far northeast, which has been on and off for the past 40 years. As head of state in February 1985, Muhammadu Buhari, then a serving Military General, visited a site of the (then) Chad Basin drilling. At the time, 22 wells had been drilled, with only two of them indicating hydrocarbon shows. Wadi-1 was one of those with such evidence.

TGS-Petrodata Commences Large Multi-Client 3D Survey in the Vicinity of Agbami Field

TGS-Petrodata, having secured a Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) with support from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), has commenced the Awele South 3D multi-client survey offshore Nigeria.

The ‘Awele South 3D 2023’ project will encompass approximately 5,900 square kilometres within the designated 56,000 square kilometers PEL area.

The project, supported by industry funding, is anticipated to span approximately 90 days, with completion planned in Fourth Quarter 2023.

Chevron’s pre-funding of the project with $28Million is a bet on Nigeria’s deepwater future, say spokesmen for TGS and Petrodata.

Some other international operators have indicated interest in acquiring the data after production, but they will not get the benefit of the discount that Chevron is getting for pre-funding.

“TGS-Petrodata has an extensive multi-client data library in Nigeria, including reprocessed 2D seismic and our regional multibeam and seafloor sampling study” says Will Ashby, Executive Vice President for the Eastern Hemisphere at TGS.  “We are delighted to expand our footprint with the Awele South 3D survey. Since this project was announced in March 2023, the TGS-Petrodata team has worked diligently alongside the NUPRC, NCDMB, COSL and other stakeholders to ensure successful commencement of the survey.

“As one of Africa’s largest and oldest hydrocarbon producers, unlocking this prospectivity and de-risking drilling operations will further bolster Nigeria’s energy production capacity. Having insight into the petroleum system of the Niger Delta basin will enhance our understanding of the country’s potential energy resources.”

Invictus Starts New Seismic Shoot in Zimbabwe’s Frontier Acreage

Australian minnow Invictus Energy reports that work is progressing according to plan on the Cabora Bassa two dimensional seismic acquisition 2023 (CB23 2D) programme being carried out by Polaris Natural Resource Development Ltd (Polaris) on its behalf.

Having also acquired Invictus’ earlier seismic survey in 2021 (CB21), “Polaris are well-placed to deliver safe and efficient operations”, Invictus explains.

A total of 425kilometres of lines have been successfully and safely cleared and the layout of receiver nodes is well underway. The first recorded data has been acquired and the survey is expected to be complete in mid-August 2023.

STRYDE wireless node layout ahead of data acquisition

The programme is a key part of the Company’s Phase 2 exploration campaign in the Cabora Bassa Basin, with the new seismic lines tying-in to existing legacy data, including Invictus’ 2021 survey. The data will provide a denser seismic grid over leads identified in the east of the basin and along the basin’s southern margin.

“This, along with data and insights from Mukuyu-1 and the upcoming Mukuyu-2 well, will be used to mature these leads as future drilling candidates”, Invictus affirms.

The CB23 Survey is utilising the latest generation STRYDE wireless nodes, which are less than 25% of the weight of comparable systems and makes the laying out and retrieving of the wireless nodes significantly easier, cheaper and substantially lowers the environmental footprint.

The survey work will include some dedicated testing of acquisition parameters that will allow for the optimization of a potential future 3D seismic survey in the basin.

2D seismic processing contract awarded to Earth Signal Processing Ltd

Meanwhile, the contract to process the data acquired in the CB23 programme has been awarded to Earth Signal Processing Ltd.

“Earth Signal processed the CB21 survey for Invictus and this prior experience will enable an efficient processing workflow and provide a seamless, high-quality dataset across the basin”.

Ewo Well (OML 120) Out of Pressure Control Problems, Close to ‘Primary’ Target

By Macson Obojemuinmoin

General Hydrocarbons Ltd (GHL), the Nigerian independent operator of the deepwater Oil Mining Lease (OML 120), has worked its way out of the “kick” experienced when the platform rig Blackford Dolphin ran into an abnormal pressure regime in a shallow reservoir in the Ewo-1 wildcat in late May 2023.

The well has been sidetracked, and the rig is now very close to the primary target.

“We are close to target and should be drilling that this week” company sources tell Africa Oil+Gas Report.

An analogue of ‘Big Ewo’

The Ewo Deep prospect is a large, deep, four-way closure, hemmed in by a roll over fault.

Fondly called “The Big Ewo” by GHL staff, it lies in the vicinity of the Oyo North West structure in OML 120.

Geoscientists at D’Harmattan, a firm of subsurface consultants who evaluated existing data (seismic, logs and other petrophysical data), say “the reserves estimate is several hundreds of millions of barrels”.

Africa Oil+Gas Report confirmed that the seismic dataset used in determining “The Big Ewo” is the same data set used by Erin Energy, (formerly CAMAC), the previous asset holder and operator. So, we repeated our question: “If the ‘Big Ewo’ was sitting there all along, how come no one ever drilled it, in all the 30 years since the acreages were first awarded?”

The response from both GHL and D’Harmattan sources is that “the current estimate is from a deeper prospect from the one Erin looked at and drilled one well on”.

The Oyo field was producing in OML 120 before the acreages (OMLs 120 & 121) were revoked from Erin Energy, in 2019. The acreage was awarded to GHL in 2020, in one of the last discretionary awards made on the eve of the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which now forbids any granting of acreage awards outside of the process of a bid round.

This drilling is GHL’s first field operations since its incorporation in 2007.



TOTAL and Seplat Discoveries Not Evidence of Aggressive Exploration in Nigeria

By Lukman Abolade, Senior Correspondent

It would be wrong to characterise the discoveries of Sibiri and Ntokon oil and gas fields by TOTAL and Seplat in Nigerian Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 40 and 102 within the last six months as evidence of aggressive exploration in the country.

“I’m not surprised that TOTAL made a new discovery, within what you might call a busy area, because in the vicinity of the Ofon structure where the new find was made, there are developments all around”, argues Biodun Adesanya, a leading Nigerian geoscientist.

Adesanya has run a subsurface evaluation firm, Degeconek, for all of 33 years. He is a former President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), the largest single grouping of technical professionals in the upstream sector of the African hydrocarbon patch.

“OML 40 too is also a busy area, of some sort. Making a new find in the midst of busy areas is like incremental discoveries. You are in a much-developed environment, with brownfields all around you. It will be an entirely different thing if a discovery was made offshore Lagos. In that case, the context of the exploration narrative is different”.

Adesanya notes that Nigerian operators should be encouraged to drill upside prospects near producing fields the way Sepat and TOTAL have done.  “It’s what is called Infrastructure Led Exploration”, he says. “Every one of those companies who have assets similar to those plays that Seplat and TOTAL drilled should be encouraged to go back and drill the low hanging fruits, because the beauty of that is that, the hook up of the discovery to the market requires a very short time. And I think that there are still a lot of people in the industry who are too conservative to take these kinds of risks. They are not venturing out. But knowledge and professionalism and risk taking are different from entity to entity. Those (drilling) opportunities ae everywhere in the Niger Delta, and the question is: if companies choose to do these Infrastructure Led Exploration all over the place, does this portend that there is an active exploration going on in the country?

Adesanya contends that the industry-in Nigeria in particular- has gone through two or more recessions and several low oil price regimes, that there have been significant lessons learned. “We have always advocated even at NAPE level that we need reserve replacement, you know, otherwise the country’s crude volume will continue to deplete, and we will run out”.




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