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Low Price, Lockdown, Ideal for Oil data G&G Evaluation

The low oil price and restricted movement is the ideal time to expand the home office environment to allow for creative evaluation of all data in a company’s possession to resolve identified challenges in exploration Geoscience

This is the opinion of Ebi Omatsola. Africa’s top exploration thinker.

“That’s when its best to share knowledge with appropriate colleagues and prepare for the good days ahead when and if they come”, says the former Chief Geologist at Shell Nigeria and former MD of Conoil Producing.

“Petroleum is still the anchor for global energy”, Omatsola argues, and even if it’s very low priced at the moment, “Prices will still rise sufficiently to encourage low hanging Near Facility Exploration (NFEP)”, he explains.

Contending that natural gas is becoming the most important transition energy resource, Omatsola advises G&G (Geology and Geophysics) staff to pull out Prospect inventory and work them up, “as long as those prospects are in the NFEP category”.

Nigerian Government Takes Ownership of Ororo-1 Fire

The state is paying for extinguishing the flames and has ordered the drill a relief well

Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it had novated the contract to the Drilling Contractor working on the re-entry of Ororo-1, a full month before the fire erupted on the rig on May 15, 2020.

The novation was made at the time of revocation order on the award of the Ororo marginal field on April 6, 2020.

Effectively, the Nigerian government is paying the contractor, bearing the cost of extinguishing the rampaging fire and in this particular instance, it has ordered that if need be, a relief well should  be drilled.

A relief well, targeted at above or at the producing problem formation, is one of the most efficient ways to control a blowout.

Sarki Auwalu, director of DPR, specifically instructed that the contractor engage Boots & Coots Services, a Halliburton owned firm of well control specialists, to put out the fire.

Grace-1 HWU, a Hydraulic workover rig reportedly owned by Joeny Holdings, was contracted for the job of re-entry and completion by the Nigerian minnow Guarantee Petroleum.

The operations on Ororo-1, a highly pressured well located in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95, in shallow water offshore Western Niger Delta, experienced a sudden rush of hydrocarbon fluids speeding up from over pressured reservoirs at depths deeper than 8,500 feet to the surface and forcing a blowout. The Blow Out Preventer (BOP) for the main well bore and the BOP for the annulus (the space between the pipe and the skin of the well), both failed. The reservoir pressure was 8,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and above, surface pressure was about 4,600psi as of the time of incident, according to field data.

The regulatory agency dismisses the claims of Guarantee Petroleum, that it engaged with DPR personnel before it took a Hydraulic workover rig to the conduct a re-entry and completion of a highly pressured well.

“If the rig was there, our people must know. You cannot mobilize any rig without informing the DPR Zonal office. You cannot even spud the well or start to drill without informing the DPR Zonal Office. You cannot have a workover without having your oil spill contingency activation documents with DPR so that in case anything happens, we will activate it. They all don’t have that”.

Novation is the process by which the original contract is extinguished and replaced with another, under which a third party takes up rights and obligations duplicating those of one of the parties to the original contract.

The DPR says it did not see the need to consult with either Guarantee Petroleum or its partner Owena Oil & Gas over the novation, as technically, they were no longer rightsholders to the well.

The Ororo field was awarded to both parties as a marginal field in 2003. The government revoked the award because the grantees had “failed to develop the field and bring it to full production before the expiration of the granted extension period which elapsed on April 30, 2019”, says the revocation letter.

Guarantee Petroleum has claimed that the rig was moved to site in October 2019 with the permission of the DPR  and that the revocation order, made with immediate effect right in the middle of a well re-entry process, encouraged a sense of pandemonium which resulted in the fire incident on the Grace-1 HWU.

“Service providers became jittery when the announcement came”, the company lamented to Africa Oil+Gas Report.

The DPR disagrees. It contends that when it was conducting due diligence to determine the revocation, in March, the rig had not been moved to site. “By the time we implemented the revocation, the rig was onsite. And when that rig was onsite, we realized that technically that rig, and just to tell you that if they engaged us, we have to access the rig, the BOP and all that but they didn’t do that”, the agency says. “We know that that rig could not do what they wanted to do because of the history of that place”.

The DPR says that extant technical information on the well indicates that the hydraulic workover rig could not perform the service it was called up to do. “That was why they refused to contact DPR because they know that we would say no to that. We cannot allow that and so they refused to inform us. They are ware that revocation or no revocation, if they go with that rig, there is a potential that the well would collapse. There is that potential”.

In a letter it purportedly wrote to DPR on May 15, Guarantee Petroleum sought the regulator’s approval to use dispersants “and other needed materials “around the well and environs “to avoid loss of lives and further pollution of the communities affected”. Such a letter would suggest that Guarantee Petroleum was sure it was still in charge of operations.

The Regulatory agency denies receiving any such correspondence. “We have only two ways of receiving correspondences in DPR. It is either you bring it physically which we would stamp and give you a received copy, or you send it through DRP@DPR.GOV.NG which also carries date and time. And as soon as you email it through do you know what will happen? it will enter into our ERP and it will capture the subject and we will see it immediately”.



Hydraulic Workover Rig Catches Fire on Ororo Well

By Toyin Akinosho

A Hydraulic workover rig Grace-1 HWU, working for the Nigerian independent Guarantee Petroleum, burst into flames over the weekend in the course of re-entry operations on the Ororo-1 well in shallow water Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95.

The incident was the culmination of a well control situation that had been shaping up since mid -April.

Field data indicate that, in late April, technicians had put the well under control after it had released fluid to surface through malfunctioned Blow Out Preventer (BOP) on the rig, owned by Joeny Holdings Limited. “Well is stable and gas leak at the same level as at when BOP was closed-in.  No increase in gas flow”, the report indicated as of April 22, 2020.

But by May 15, the wellhead had caught fire.

“All the personnel had been successfully evacuated off the 300 Series SEWOP (Self Elevating Work-Over Platform)”, reported Guarantee Petroleum, operator of the Ororo field. But the Platform itself had not been moved from the site.

The company had written the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the industry regulatory agency, since April 23rd, requesting for approval to carry out the needed containment of the flow of gas and fluid droplets from the wellhead. Guarantee claims that the regulator did not dignify it with a response.

DPR spokespersons dd not have any comments on the matter.

Guarantee’s licence to Ororo field had been revoked by the Nigerian government, through the DPR, on April 7, 2020, but the company was deep in the middle of the re-entry operations when the letter came.

DPR’s refusal to respond, in the last month, to Guarantee Petroleum’s correspondences, may have to do with the regulator’s consideration that the company no longer had a right to the field. But that itself throws up a question: How can you revoke a licence right in the middle of operations you have yourself approved? See related story.

On May 15, after the fire incident started, Guarantee Petroleum sought DPR’s approval to use dispersants “and other needed materials “around the well and environs “to avoid loss of lives and further pollution of the communities affected”.

It also said it contacted Chevron Nigeria and Halliburton (the American oil service provider) for help. Chevron, an E&P major, is the operator of OML 95, the acreage from which Ororo field was ringfenced.

Esimaje Brikinn, Chevron’s General Manager, Public Affairs  explained to Africa Oil+Gas Report that  “the affected facility is a third-party facility and it is not operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) or any of its affiliates”. He added that the company was “prepared to provide necessary emergency response assistance in accordance with petroleum industry emergency response protocol, to help address the situation, if required. CNL remains committed to safety of the people and the environment. CNL will continue working with relevant regulatory agencies and other stakeholders on protection of the environment”.

Grace-1 HWU had been on the well since October 2019.


ExxonMobil Heralds Reduction of Nigerian Rig Count

With its widely publicized notification of early termination of the contracts for the jackups Gerd and Groa offshore Nigeria, ExxonMobil has effectively inaugurated the widely anticipated reduction of the Nigerian rig activity.

Gerd and Groa, owned by Borr Drilling, were on locations in Asasa and Oyot fields in Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 67 and 70 respectively, as of early April 2020.

Now other announcements of terminations of rig contracts by other companies are expected to follow, as market conditions worsen.

The two Borr rigs were under contracts originally committed until April 2021 and May 2021. The contracts for both rigs require 180-day notice for early termination.

Borr, a New York Stok Exchange listed company, says it is in discussions with ExxonMobil with regards to planning the discontinuity of operations.

Nigerian rig activity was at a three year high in January 2020, with 32 rigs in various stages of operations on as many locations.

But the combination of COVID-19 and a price war has, since then, has gutted the hydrocarbon industry worldwide, with cargoes of crude oil sloshing around looking for buyers.





Petrodata/TGS Continue Geochemistry Data Acquisition offshore Nigeria

The multi-use vessel, R/V Gyre, is in the second week of performing a geochemistry analysis programme offshore Nigeria.

The Petrodata/TGS partnership, which is promoting the project, claims that this is the country’s first regional multi-client Multibeam and Seafloor Sampling (MB&SS) Study.

Field reports say that, in just three days after commencement of project, two prominent water column anomalies and bubble plumes were observed in over 2,000 metre water depth with associated surface slicks. The study will cover an area of approximately 80,000 square kilometres of the offshore Niger Delta and will incorporate around 150 cores from the seabed, which target multibeam backscatter anomalies. To this date, the RV Gyre has collected 65,000 square kilometres of multibeam data and identified 431 watercolumn anomalies in the Nigeria study area.

Much of this area is also covered by TGS’ NGRE19 2D seismic data that was reprocessed in 2019 to take advantage of the latest seismic imaging techniques.

Final results of the new MB&SS programme are expected to be available before the end of this quarter.

R/V Gyre had, earlier this year, acquired 80,000 square kilometers of high resolution multibeam echo sounder bathymetry in the MSGBC Basin, from Northern Senegal through The Gambia and AGC zone, into Guinea-Bissau down to the Guinea transform fault. It performed the offshore advanced analysis where 80 active hydrocarbon seeps were detected in the multibeam water column data. But that project was solely for TGS. The one it’s currently doing in Nigeria is a joint collaboration between Petrodata and TGS.

Petrodata and TGS say that the multibeam, coring and geochemical analysis “provides our customers with further insight into and understanding of regional prospectivity.

“Following its successful implementation in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and across the MSGBC Basin, we are pleased to expand the use of this technology into West Africa’s most prolific hydrocarbon province.”


Large Seismic Survey Completed in Shallow water Kwanza Basin

Norwegian explorer, PGS has completed the acquisition on the MC3D Kwanza Shelf survey offshore Angola.

The company says that GeoStreamer coverage in Blocks 6, 7 and 8 and the surrounding areas of the Kwanza Shelf is now 8,300 sq kms.

“This MC3D Kwanza Shelf survey complements earlier PGS acquisition, carried out in 2019”, PGS says, adding that this latest survey will provide key data for the country’s 2021 License Round.

“A fast-track dataset is now available for viewing. The present-day shelf of the Kwanza Basin has been overlooked in previous exploration cycles. The combination of 3D GeoStreamer technology with modern imaging techniques is expected to unlock plays in shallow Kwanza Shelf open blocks”.

PGS states that t encountered imaging challenges in the shallow-water environment of the survey and it resolved them by enhanced processing flows such as full waveform inversion (FWI) and separated wavefield imaging (SWIM) enabled by high-quality GeoStreamer 3D broadband data.

“High-density GeoStreamer acquisition combined with the latest processing and imaging technology, provide a detailed view of the hydrocarbon potential of the Kwanza Shelf area. This high-quality dataset will allow for lead and prospect generation, attribute analysis and reservoir-scale evaluations”

Fast-track data from the Kwanza Shelf MultiClient 3D GeoStreamer survey is now available for viewing.


Kosmos Acquires 4D Seismic Data Off Eq. Guinea

Kosmos Energy has been acquiring four dimensional (4D) seismic data in shallow to deepwater terrains in Rio Muni basin off Equatorial Guinea.

The company is acquiring, with the Polarcus Naila,  the third 4D seismic monitor survey over the Ceiba and Okume fields in water depths ranging from 100 to 1,200 metres.

Two such survey monitors have been done on the fields since they started production 22 years ago. The last 4D seismic monitor was in 2014, since which there has been continued production, new producer wells and improvements to the water injection pattern, all of which have altered the fluid flow patterns within the reservoir.

Kosmos and Trident Energy purchased the interest of Hess, another American company, from the asset in 2017.

The survey is expected to last 45 days and cover and area of 340 square kilometres.

The Ceiba-Okwume complex is delivering around 42,000BOPD.


Amni to Spud in Ghana’s Central Tano, In March 2020

Amni Petroleum will entirely fund the drilling of the first of its two obligation wells offshore Ghana, in March 2020.

The well will be drilled by the drillship Ensco-DS54.

Amni holds 90% of the Central Tano Block in the Tano Basin, with the remaining 10% is controlled by the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC), which the company carries.

The Nigerian independent has been unable to get a well-heeled partner to fund the drilling and time is running out on the block. The company was awarded the area as the distinct “Central Tano Block” in March 2014 for an initial seven-year term of three exploration phases.

Five prospects and eleven leads across the three plays have so far been identified to date with a combined potential of more than 3.5Billion Barrels of Oil in place, to go by the claims of Envoi, the London headquartered consultants, commissioned by to assist in its search for a partner.

For close to three years the Nigerian operator has been in search of  a farminee willing to earn up to a  40% equity in the Block by funding the two obligation wells (estimated dry hole cost $40Million each), with a negotiated contribution to past costs.


Nigeria: Rig Activity is Up by Six in Three Months

There were 32 rigs in various stages of operations on as many locations in Nigeria on January 15, 2020, the middle of the first month of the year.

They were either drilling, carrying out workovers, or completing, according to data compiled for Africa Oil+Gas Report by Ofserv, an oil service company focused on wells.

There were five other rigs that were inactive on the said date.

Two of these were in what is called the Pre-Drill phase; two were on standby while one was leaving location after several months of activity. This particular rig, in ‘move’ phase, is incidentally Ikenga 101, which had drilled Kolmani-1 for NNPC, the state hydrocarbon company, for nine months.

It wasn’t clear if it was moving to another location or was being retired.

Overall, rig activity in Nigeria had surged by over 25% from 26 rigs on as many locations, drilling, completing or carrying out workovers, in mid-October 2019.

Details are updated monthly and made available to paying subscribers of Africa Oil+Gas Report.


Pirates Kill Four JTF Soldiers in OML 55

Four soldiers of the Joint Task Force of the Nigerian Military, guarding the Belemaoil operated Oil Mining Lease (OML) 55 in Rivers State in the Eastern Niger Delta, were killed when pirates confronted a gunboat on a creek in the licence area.

The soldiers were killed on the Buguma Creek.

Details are still sketchy, and Belemaoil officials say they are still conducting their own investigations.

The perspective that Africa Oi+Gas Report gets from the company is that the confrontation that led to the killings was not targeted at Belemaoil.

The Nigerian independent acquired Chevron Nigeria’s 40% of the JV asset in 2014, with the state hydrocarbon company NNPC holding 60%.  It is currently ‘carpeting’ the acreage in three dimensional (3D) Seismic Survey. The BGP/IDSL consortium is acquiring the data, which spans 1,300 square kilometres on the surface, covering the Robertkiri, Idama, Inda and Jokka fields in the acreage as well as some adjoining areas.

At a time when there’s very little exploration in the country, the OML 55 survey is one of the largest seismic acquisitions in the swamplands of the Niger Delta.

The surface area of the acreage is 808 square kilometres, and the programmed fold of coverage is 180. Belemaoil expects to acquire deeper than six to seven seismic seconds, so it can image possible reservoirs as deep as 14,000feet True Vertical Depth subsea.

It is in the nature of seismic acquisitions to survey more than the areal size of the asset, if the desire is to cover the entire acreage, to ensure that every inch of the territory is accounted for in the resulting, processed data set.

Jack Rich Tein, Belemaoil’s founder and chief executive, is reputed to be a community friendly ‘son of the Niger Delta’, but that hasn’t shielded OML 55 from the incipient violence in Rivers State. Indeed, there has been a spike in kidnappings of oil workers in Rivers State in the last nine months, from the run up to the February-March 2019 elections through the several months in the aftermath.

No other state in Nigeria’s oil rich belt has been as overwhelmed with criminality, in recent times as Rivers.

The OML 55 survey was supposed to take 20-24 months from November 2018, meaning that it would have been completed by November 2020.

Belemaoil produced about 8,000Barrels of Oil Per Day from OML 55 in October 2019 and it is hoping to utilise the seismic data to improve the field development and increase production by at least a factor of three.


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