All articles in the Oilpatch Sahara Section:

Chevron Hits a Motherlode in the Mediterranean

Chevron and partners are evaluating a commercial sized accumulation of natural gas, encountered in the Narges 1 well, in the Mediterranean Sea offshore Egypt.

Tarek El Molla, the Egyptian Minister of Hydrocarbons, confirmed the discovery to the country’s parliament on Friday, December 16, 2022, but he did not give details of the estimated volume of the accumulation.

The Narges block in the Eastern Mediterranean is one of the assets that Chevron took over in the event of its recent acquisition of Noble Energy, the American independent.

The Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reported in early December 2022, that the field could hold an estimated 3.5Trillion Standard cubic feet of gas. It also reported that the gas was encountered gas at the prognosed primary target depth of 3980 metres.

The estimated 3.5Tcf volume is about 15% of the ultimate recoverable reserves in the giant Zohr gas field, discovered by ENI in the same Mediterranean in 2015, and the discovery is timely. Africa’s third largest economy has been determined to maximize its exports of natural gas to improve its Foreign Exchange earnings. With gas production averaging 6.5Billion standard cubic feet per day in third quarter 2022, a year-on-year drop of 700Million standard cubic feet per day, the country commenced, last August, a rationing of gas for domestic power production, in order to free up more gas for export.

The Narges block is 45% operated by Chevron with another 45% owned by ENI, the Italian explorer.   Tharwa Petroleum, an Egyptian state hydrocarbon company, holds the remaining 10%.

The Narges-1 probe is being drilled by the drillship Stena Forth, in an acreage which lies some 60 kilometres from the Sinai peninsula, about 80 kilometres east of the nearest Egyptian gas infrastructure and 70 kilometres west of the long dormant Gaza Marine gas discovery offshore Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave.



BP Awards a Four – Well Contract to Valaris DS-12 in Egypt

The European major BP has awarded a four-well contract to Valaris Limited for the drillship VALARIS DS-12 for a campaign offshore Egypt. The contract is expected to commence late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter 2023 and has an estimated duration of 320 days. The estimated total contract value, inclusive of a mobilization fee, is $136.4 million.

President and Chief Executive Officer Anton Dibowitz said, “We are honoured that BP has chosen VALARIS DS-12 for their upcoming development campaign offshore Egypt. The rig has a long and successful track record with the customer, having worked for BP in several locations offshore Africa, including Egypt, over the past three and a half years. We look forward to partnering with BP on another successful campaign.”

Mr. Dibowitz added, “We retain significant operating leverage to the improving deepwater market through our fleet of 11 drillships, including three uncontracted high-specification rigs VALARIS DS-7, DS-8 and DS- 11, plus attractively priced purchase options for newbuild rigs VALARIS DS-13 and DS-14.



ENI Hits Another Paydirt Onshore Algeria

Italian major ENI and Algeria’s state hydrocarbon company SONATRACH say they have tested 1,300Barrels of Oil Per Day(BOPD) bbl/day of oil and about 2Million standard cubic feet of associated gas per day in the Rhourde Oulad Djemaa Ouest-1 (RODW-1) exploration well in the Zemlet el Arbi concession, located in the Berkine North Basin in the Algerian desert.

The hydrocarbons were encountered in the Triassic sandstones of the Tagi reservoir.

RODW-1 is the third well in the exploration drilling campaign, but the second discovery, coming, as it is  after what ENI calls “the significant discovery of HDLE-1, announced in March 2022”, and the successful second appraisal well HDLS-1 in the adjacent Sif Fatima II.

“The development of these discoveries will be fast-tracked, thanks to their proximity to existing BRN/ROD facilities”, ENI says in a release.

“The RODW-1 discovery confirms the validity of ENI’s and SONATRACH’s successful near-field and infrastructure-led exploration strategy, that allows a rapid valorisation of the new resources”, the company explains.

The Zemlet el Arbi concession is operated by a joint venture between ENI (49%), and SONATRACH (51%). The discovery is part of the new exploration campaign which will include the drilling of five wells in the Berkine North Basin.


CGG Wins a 3D OBN Seismic Acquisition Contract for the Nile Delta

The Atoll field peaked at 400MMscf/d in 2020…

Norwegian geophysical company CGG, has been awarded a project by British Petroleum (bp) and its JV Partner Pharaonic Petroleum Co, for the three-dimensional (3D) seismic imaging of the first Ocean Bottom Node (OBN) survey ever conducted in Egypt’s Nile delta.

The coverage involves the Atoll and Atoll North fields.

“CGG will apply its unique high-end OBS Full-waveform inversion (FWI) imaging technologies, expertise and specialised high-performance computing (HPC) from its UK and Cairo imaging centres”, bp says in a statement, “to deliver the highest-quality 3D seismic images of pre-Messinian targets with greater velocity model detail, image bandwidth and AVO reliability for improved field development planning and near-field exploration”.

BP started gas production from the offshore field in February 2018. The Atoll field, in the North Damietta concession in the East Nile Delta, peaked at 400Million standard cubic feet per day and 11,430Barrels of Oil Per Day in 2020.

Peter Whiting, Executive Vice President, Geoscience, CGG, said: “This new 3D OBN imaging project is the first of its kind in the Nile delta. With our in-depth geological knowledge of the region, based on our 35-year operating experience in Egypt, and our industry-leading OBS imaging technology, I have every confidence in CGG’s ability to overcome the seismic imaging challenges in this area and deliver the best possible subsurface insight to bp and joint-venture partners at Atoll.”

ION Completes Close to 20,000sq km of 3D Seismic Reprocessing in Mauritania

ION Geophysical Corporation (has completed the reprocessing and reimaging of approximately 19,100 km² of 3D seismic data offshore West Africa for its Mauritania 3D reprocessing programme.

The multi-client project was undertaken through an exclusive agreement with the Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mines in Mauritania. It is comprised of 11 vintage seismic surveys and provides a seamless, modern, high resolution data set spanning the Mauritanian offshore coastal basin. This basin is a key part of the frontier MSGBC basin in which several large-scale, offshore, gas fields have been discovered, with an estimated 63trillion cubic feet (Tcf)* in place in Mauritania thus far, ION declares.

“With foreign investment flowing in, field developments expected to come online in 2023, gas favoured as a source of energy for the energy transition, and capacity expected to exceed domestic needs, contracts for LNG export to European and other markets is anticipated”, the company reiterates.

“The MSGBC basin has become one that matters in the global oil and gas landscape, even if it is still today a frontier area. We have an enormous potential and we must find the right solutions to use these resources for the development of the country,” stated Chemsdine Sow Deina, Exploration Director at Societe Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures (SMH).

“With ION’s delivery of its Mauritania 3D reprocessing program, operators now have a lower cost, lower risk, sustainable solution for evaluating the offshore hydrocarbon potential of Mauritania,” said Chris Usher, President and CEO. “As a result, we anticipate additional discoveries will be made that ensure Mauritania’s long term energy security, as well as exports that fund sustainable economic growth and development.”

The Mauritania 3D reprocessing program was supported by the industry and almost triples the amount of 3D data that ION has delivered this year from approximately 10,000 km2 to 29,000 km2. Final pre-stack depth imaged deliverables are now available. Learn more at

*Estimate from Mauritania-Senegal: an emerging New African Gas Province – is it still possible? October, 1, 2020. The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies


TGS to Start a Second 3D Multi-Client Seismic Survey in the Egyptian Red Sea

The Norwegian geophysical company TGS, has announced a new three dimensional (3D) seismic survey in the Red Sea, Egypt, in partnership with Schlumberger.

This survey represents the second phase of new acquisition for the partners in this region and will encompass a minimum of 5,000 square kilometers. Data will be acquired with long offsets and processed using a Pre-Stack Depth Migration (PSDM) workflow to enable subsalt imaging. The acquisition is expected to start in April 2022, with final products anticipated in mid-2023 to ensure availability ahead of future license rounds in the region.

Egypt’s attractive, stable investment climate, enhanced by established exploration infrastructure and complemented by regular, transparent, and well-managed licensing rounds, has helped bolster interest in the Red Sea. The region is considered to hold significant hydrocarbon potential characterized by a wide range of prospective hydrocarbon systems comprising large, untested structures.

TGS and Schlumberger have a long-term commitment with the Egypt Ministry of Petroleum and South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company (GANOPE) to promote the prospectivity of the Egyptian Red Sea. Through the acquisition and processing of seismic data. GANOPE is responsible for managing Egypt’s hydrocarbon resource potential under latitude line 28°.

The survey is supported by industry funding.


Shell Is Quiet About Rumours of Orange Basin Discovery

Shell has not expressly announced commercial discovery, whether minimal or significant, in its deepwater drilling offshore Namibia.

But everyone has had a say or two about the Graf-1 probe, located in Petroleum Exploration License 39 (PEL 39) in the Orange basin. Upstream, the Norway based oil and gas focused newspaper, had reported a very speculative story of the supposed find.

The well is being drilled by the drillship Valaris DS-10 in 2,000 metres of water.

The global newswire, Reuters, citing “three industry sources”, followed up, insisting the European major had made “a significant oil and gas discovery which could spark a wave of investment in the southern African country”. And then, after using the term “significant”, Reuters goes to state “it is unclear if the discoveries are big enough for Shell to go ahead with the development of the country’s first deep water field”. Reuters’ claim that the Namibian government was planning to make an announcement on the details of the discovery in the week of January 31, 2022, also turned out to be exaggerated.

A noteworthy feature of the speculation is the strong sense of Namibian government push behind it. “Upstream understands from two other sources that senior officials in Namibia’s Ministry of Mines & Energy believe results from the well are “positive” and that “Shell will do well” in the country”, the paper said, adding: “|Last month, just days after information began leaking out about Graff-1’s success, a further source with Namibian connections said Tom Alweendo, Namibia’s Energy Minister, was ‘very excited’ by the results”.

The media has gone so far as to report the density of the fluid (light oil), age of the reservoir (Upper Cretaceous sands, thought to be Cenomanian) and size of the find (a potential 300Million-barrel) It even reports hydrocarbon footage: “one layer at least 60 metres deep of hydrocarbons”.

All of these reports cite Shell executives as unwilling to comment, only grudgingly noting: “We continue to safely execute Graff-1 operations.”

Chariot Makes Significant Gas Discovery Off Morocco

Chariot has announced the presence of “significant gas accumulations in the appraisal and exploration objectives of the Anchois-2 well with a calculated net gas pay totalling more than 100metres, compared to 55metres in the original Anchois-1 discovery well”.

Anchois-2 was drilled on the Anchois field within the Lixus licence offshore Morocco. Chariot has a 75% interest and operatorship of Lixus in partnership with the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) which holds a 25% interest.

The company says the well, which was spud in late December 2021, has been safely and efficiently drilled to a total measured depth of 2,512m by the Stena Don drilling rig in 381metres of water.

The AIM listed minnow says it undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the well through wireline logging, including petrophysical evaluation, subsurface formation testing including reservoir pressures and gas sampling, sidewall cores and well bore seismic profiles.

Its results are summarised as follows:

Appraisal Target

Gas Sand B has a calculated total net gas pay of more than 50m in two stacked reservoirs of similar thickness. The upper reservoir is a continuation of a reservoir drilled in the original discovery well, Anchois-1, with the lower reservoir being newly identified.

Exploration Targets

Gas Sands C, M & O were successfully encountered with multiple gas-bearing intervals across a gross interval of 250m measured distance with no water-bearing reservoirs identified, materially exceeding pre-drill expectations.

  • Previously discovered Gas Sand A was not targeted in the Anchois-2 well, due to the intention of evaluating it in the subsequent Anchois-1 re-entry operations, however, the Anchois-2 well encountered gas bearing sands at this level providing important additional subsurface data.
  • High quality reservoirs were encountered in all gas sands.
  • Further analysis will be undertaken to fully understand the positive implications on:
        •   Gas resources within the expanded Anchois field and the scale of the potential gas development.
  •   De-risking of numerous additional material exploration prospects within the Lixus licence area with similar seismic attributes to the Anchois discovery now considered to be low risk.
  • The well will now be suspended for potential future re-entry and completion as a production well in the development of the field.
  • The Stena Don rig will then move to the Anchois-1 gas discovery well to perform re-entry operations with the objectives of assessing the integrity of the previously drilled well, and if successful, providing a future potential production well for the development of the field.



Aggressive TGS Kicks Off Another Seismic Survey in Mauritania

The Norwegian geophysical company, TGS, has announced commencement of a new seismic survey in the MSGBC Basin, offshore Mauritania.

It is a follow up to the North-West Africa Atlantic Margin (NWAAM) two dimensional (2D) seismic acquisition campaign.

The current survey, NWAAM 2021, will comprise 7,500 kilometres of seismic data, with a modern broadband acquisition set-up. The project is being undertaken using the vessel BGP Pioneer

“The survey is designed to illuminate the regional plays in the ultra-deep and deepwater areas with a new azimuth and to provide prospectivity insights of an oil-prone area in relation to recent key wells and the shallow water geology”, TGS says in a release.

TGS has been, perhaps the busiest multi-client seismic survey contractor on the African continent in the last three years. It was the go -to company for the Liberian licensing round, which was launched in 2nd Quarter 2020, because it holds a range of multi-client data across the Harper Basin, the focus of the round, to support the activity.

TGS acquired a keen rival, Spectrum Geophysical, in June 2019 and in 2020 acquired the Senegal North Ultra-Deep offshore three-dimensional (3D) survey, covering an area of more than 5,100km². The stand-alone northern Senegal survey was the continuation of the Jaan 3D seismic survey, which is TGS’ 3D dataset covering the southern portion of the Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry (MSGBC) Basin, offshore north-west Africa.

In Nigeria, between 2019 and 2021, TGS, along with its joint venture partner PetroData, carried out the country’s first regional multi-client Multibeam and Seafloor Sampling (MB&SS) Study, covering an area of approximately 80,000 square kilometres of the offshore Niger Delta and incorporating around 150 cores from the seabed, whose location is based on multibeam backscatter anomalies.

In terms of the ongoing Mauritanian survey, TGS says the project has a 60-day acquisition timeline, with fast-track data available three months after acquisition. The full dataset will be available by Q2 2022.

“Our latest seismic survey offshore Mauritania will provide explorers with the subsurface intelligence needed to assess the hydrocarbon potential of the deep and ultra-deepwater”, TGS says. “We see this project as the natural continuation of our successful NWAAM campaign, one of our flagship projects in Africa”.


Chariot Ready for Gas Appraisal Well in Morocco

Chariot Oil & Gas has signed a contract with Stena Drilling, to use its semi-submersible Stena Don drilling rig for the planned Anchois gas appraisal well within the Lixus licence, offshore Morocco.

Drilling operations are anticipated to commence in December 2021 and are expected to take up to approximately 40 days.

 With the drilling, Chariot o wants to unlock the development of the discovered sands by confirming the gas resource volumes, reservoir quality and well productivity.

The probe also seeks to provide a future production well for the development of the field as well as potentially deepen the well into additional low-risk prospective sands with the aim of establishing a larger resource base for longer term growth.

Anchois field’s development plan, so far, envisages two subsea wells tied into a subsea manifold with a 40-km offshore flowline connected to an onshore gas processing facility. From there another 40-km pipeline would link to a trunkline gas system to Europe.


© 2021 Festac News Press Ltd..