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Vallourec to Shut Down Nigerian Operations and Dismantle Factory

Vallourec, the France based giant in tubular solutions for the energy market, is shutting down its Nigerian operations.

The downturn in oilfield activity in the country has determined that the company should leave.

“There are no new contracts to sustain the business”, multiple sources tell Africa Oil+Gas Report.

Vallourec commissioned its first African industrial facilities in Nigeria in 2009, and the Group has been developing its industrial and commercial operations across the continent since then, such that it now has a presence in five African countries.

“Different components (f the factory) will be sold or dismantled and shipped out”, the sources say, adding that a firm decision on evacuation had not been taken.

Unlike Nigeria, there are no factories in the three other countries: Egypt, Angola and Angola, and the company, for now.

Vallourec offers  seamless tubes and premium connections for OCTG, line pipes, tubes for petrochemical facilities as well as a wide range of services, from tubular yard management enhanced with digital technologies to welding with Serimax or oilfield operations support with the VAM ® Field Services’ team throughout the continent where our customers are present.


Tanzania’s Coal Export Jumps By 972%

Tanzania exported coal worth $141.6Million in the year ending November 2022.

It was a 972% jump, from the $13.2Million exported in the corresponding period in 2021, “largely explained by the rising demand for alternative sources of energy following the short supply of crude oil and natural gas amid the war in Ukraine”, a newsletter by argues.

“Most of the coal was destined to neighboring countries including Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda; and other countries including Poland, Hong Kong, India, and Senegal”, the newsletter explains.

NNPC Plots a Return to Seismic Activity in the Chad Basin: Mele Kyari’s Valedictory?

By Macson Obojemuinmoin

Nigeria’s state hydrocarbon company NNPC Ltd, is mulling a return to its long-halted seismic acquisition campaign in the vicinity of Maiduguri in the Chad Basin.

Earlier plans to move to a well location in the area, and commence a drilling activity in parallel with the company’s wildcat drilling in Nasarawa State, is held up by decisions to reduce uncertainties with high grade seismic information. Previously scheduled seismic sweep in the Chad Basin has been inhibited by the rampaging Islamic insurgency; while NNPC has been able to carry out operations elsewhere in the north of the country, it has been unable to work in the northeast.

The proposed well locations in Nasarawa, in the country’s north central region, are sited in the middle Benue Trough, one of Nigeria’s several, inland rift sedimentary basins.

NNPC Ltd has carried out extensive geological mapping and geochemical sampling, as well as stress field surveys in some of these 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.

The most prospective of those basins, often considered low hanging fruits, have been the Dahomey (Benin) Basin and the Anambra Basin, both of which are located in the south of the country. They have benefitted from extensive geologic work by the private sector, but the state hydrocarbon firm has ignored those data.

 “When we shoot 3Ds, we are prospect specific. It is not random”, explains a ranking official in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in Abuja, speaking on condition of anonymity. “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 Chad basin campaign, in the far northeast, 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.

Apart from the Niger Delta, where all the country’s crude oil is currently being extracted, Nigeria has over five sedimentary basins which, earth scientists have confirmed, have working petroleum systems. For most of the last 30 years, the most prospective of those basins, often considered low hanging fruits, have been the Dahomey (Benin) Basin and the Anambra Basin, both of which are located in the south of the country. They have benefitted from extensive geologic work by the private sector, but the state hydrocarbon firm has ignored those data. The NNPC has been only keen on basins located in the north, and has not been transparent with the reports of the resources in place.

The NNPC Ltd’s management had hoped it could drill a well in the Chad basin, before the expiration of Buhari’s tenure at the end of May 2023. If the incoming administration chooses to ease out Mele Kyari, the Nigerian geologist who is NNPC’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), the Chad Basin seismic acquisition will be one of his key valedictory projects.

Vaalco Gets Approval for a Small Field Development offshore Equatorial Guinea

New York listed junior Vaalco Energy has won approval of the Equatorial Guinea authorities move on with the development of the Venus discovery in Block P, in shallow offshore in the Rio Muni basin.

The company and its partners will spud the first development well in early 2024, and acquire, convert, and install production infrastructure over the next three years.

Vaalco and co will spud an additional development and a water injection well in 2025-26.

Venus field activities are expected to add 23.1Million barrels of oil of 2P gross reserves.

The partners expect production from the field to peak around 15,000 gross Barrels of Oil Per Day of oil upon completion of the two development wells and injector well, based on results from the initial discovery well and reservoir modeling
Vaalco is the operator (60%) of Block P, Atlas Petroleum, a Nigerian owned independent, holds a 20% participating interest, and GEPetrol has a 20% carried interest.

“The Plan of Development POD for the discovery was submitted in early March 2023 and swiftly approved by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea”, the partners say in a release.

Located in Block P, Venus was discovered in 2005, but it was considered rather marginal for fast track development.

PGS Completes $450Million Refinancing, Says Seismic Market Is in Strong Recovery

Norwegian marine geophysical company, PGS ASA, has successfully placed a new $450Million senior secured bond with 4-year.

The proceeds from the Bonds will together with cash held on balance sheet be used to repay $600Million of the Company’s Term Loan B (the “TLB”) maturing in March 2024 at par value. The Transaction is expected to be completed around March 31, 2023.

“The offshore seismic market is in strong recovery as multiple years of underinvestment in oil and gas exploration and development, combined with a materially changed energy security situation, drive a strong increase of E&P spending”, the company says in a release.

“The Transaction materially improves the Company’s debt maturity profile while still allowing PGS flexibility to pursue its deleveraging strategy without incurring excessive costs.

  • After the Transaction, $138Million of the TLB maturing in March 2024 will remain outstanding and be repaid at par value from cash flow and liquidity sources
  • The $50Million super senior loan maturing in March 2024 remains in place. The loan may be extended by one year at the Company’s discretion or alternatively be replaced by a revolving credit and guarantee facility of up to $75Mllion
  • The Bonds are callable after two years with a customary declining call premium profile

PGS made a repayment of $83Million on its export credit financing (ECF) loans in early February 2023. The remaining balance of the ECF loans is $180Million gross (~$140Million net, if considering ~$40Million of restricted cash for debt service on the ECF loans).

The Bonds will carry a fixed interest of 13.5%. The total interest costs for the Company will be reduced following the Transaction as the Company will have significantly less debt. In addition, the interest on the remaining portion of the TLB is expected to be reduced by approximately 1% as a result of improved credit ratings and lower leverage. The Company remains committed to continue reducing its debt and thereby further reduce interest cost.

PGS insists it retains a strong liquidity reserve after the debt repayments.

DNB Markets, a part of DNB Bank ASA and Pareto Securities AS acted as joint bookrunners (the “Joint Bookrunners”) for the issuance of the Bonds. Advokatfirmaet BAHR AS is acting as Norwegian counsel to the Company and Wikborg Rein Advokatfirma AS is acting as Norwegian counsel to the Joint Bookrunners and Nordic Trustee.

PGS ASA and its subsidiaries provides a broad range of seismic and reservoir services, including data acquisition, imaging, interpretation, and field evaluation to the oil and gas industry, as well as to the broader and emerging new energy industries, including carbon storage and offshore wind.

Seplat Sues ABC Orjiako in Court For “Impersonation, Grave Act of Deceit”, Demands ₦5Billion

Seplat Energy has commenced legal proceedings against its former chairman Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloa (ABC) Orjiako, and his consulting company Amaze Limited, demanding the sum of five billion naira (₦5 Billion) as damages.

Seplat is levelling allegations of a host of corporate governance infractions against Mr. Orjiako a co-founder of the company, who retired from the board in May 2022. The proceedings centre around the manner of execution of his consultancy contract with the company, awarded in mid-2022, for services that would assist Seplat Energy Plc with specific and essential external stakeholder engagements he was involved in, which continued beyond the date he stepped down.  At the heart of that contract is to engage with agencies of the state to deliver on the closure of the company’s acquisition of the entire shares of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, which has been held up for over a year.

That contract was suspended before this court challenge.

Part of Seplat’s claim in the writ of summons is that Orjiako unilaterally issued a letter purporting to be from the company, with the company’s letterhead-without Seplat’s approval-to the President of Nigeria and Honourable Minister of Petroleum, “an act of deceit and false representation especially as it is intended to bind Seplat in a transaction worth over $300Million”. Seplat alleges that, in the said letter, Orjiako describes himself as Pioneer Chairman, a position unknown to the relevant law on corporate matters, especially as the letter sought to create the false impression that he had the authority of Seplat to bind the company in an offer of rights worth over $300Million.

The timing of the writ of summons, filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, capital of Nigeria, on March 21, 2023, is telling, coming less than two weeks after a Federal High Court in Lagos issued an interim order restricting Roger Brown, the Chief Executive of Seplat , from everyday running and management of the company, based on a motion by some stakeholders on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The court action against Mr. Brown, instituted within 48 hours of his deportation for “charges of racism, favouring of foreign workers, and discriminating against Nigerian employees”, was clearly suggestive of a high stake wangling between some very interested persons and the Seplat’s board and top management.

In the statement it issued after Roger Brown’s deportation, the Board of Directors had pointedly noted that the allegations against Brown, a British national, are “a spurious and vindictive reaction to the enforcement of corporate governance standards in the company.”

The question had always been: whose interests could Roger Brown and the multinational board of directors of Seplat have hurt so badly that they don’t mind wrestling the company to the mud? Whose sense of justice has been affronted? Whose sense of entitlement has been so bruised, or whose sense of outrage has been stoked by Brown & Company in a way that ‘the victim’ feels justified in throwing everything into the fight?

Seplat’s top six shareholders are Maurel & Prom (20.7%); Petrolin (14.5%) Platform Group (11.5%), Sustainable Capital (SA) 9.5% and Shebah Group (8.5%). Nigerian institutional investors (Pension funds and insurance companies) hold about 15%.

Mr. Orjiako’s interests in Seplat are held through Shebah Group, of which he is founder. The group has a representation on the board, as does Platform Group and M&P, all three of which are Seplat’s co-founders. Petrolin and Sustainable Capital (SA) decline to have seats on the board.

In its writ of summons, Seplat is asking the court to declare that Orjiako and Amaze Limited (his consultancy company) acted in contravention of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the operations and regulations of Seplat when they unilaterally issued a letter dated December 22, 2022 purporting same to be from Seplat to the President of Nigeria and the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, without the approval of Seplat or its Board of Directors.

Exxon Gets Better Fiscal Terms for Angola’s New Deepwater Blocks

Angola’s National Agency for Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) has announced an improvement of the fiscal terms of Blocks 30, 44 and 45 in the Namibe Basin, “within the scope of the Contracts for Services with Risk (CSR) and Extension of the Initial Phases of Exploration for the referred Blocks”,

These improved fiscal terms are expressed in a Memorandum of Understanding jointly signed in Luanda by the country’s General Tax Authority (AGT), ExxonMobil and (the state hydrocarbon firm) Sonangol.

In the context of the agreement, ANPG expects some $15Billion to be invested “in case of commercial success, with the State expected to raise between $20Billion and $40Billion for conservative oil prices of between 50 and 60 dollars a barrel”.

At the signing ceremony March 14, 2023, Paulino Jerónimo, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ANPG, emphasized the benefits in mitigating the decline in production, replacing reserves and creating jobs: “The Memorandum of Understanding, which is the result of the negotiated terms, provides considerable benefits for all parties involved. I highlight the estimated investments of $200Million dollars for studies and the drilling of the research well, until 2024. And the estimated revenue for the Angolan State from the development of a single large commercial discovery, which can vary from $20 Billion to $40Billion, if we consider a conservative analysis price between 50 and 60 Dollars/barrel”

Melissa Bond, Exxon Mobil’s General Manager in Angola, said the MoU reinforces the company’s commitment to the exploration sector in the country, namely in southern zone of Namibe, as the exploration of Blocks 30, 44 and 45 in the Namibe Basin opens a new door for the consolidation of the operator’s activity in the country”.

GHL Moves Rig on to the Oyo Field, Targets “The Big Ewo”

By Macson Obojemuinmoin, in Lagos

General Hydrocarbons Limited has moved the platform rig Blackford Dolphin to a location in deepwater Nigeria for a multi-well campaign on the Oyo oil field and adjoining prospects.

It will start operations by the second week of April 2023.

The company is particularly excited about the potential of a deep prospect in the vicinity of the Oyo North West Structure. The prospect, a robust, four-way closure hemmed in by a roll over fault, is called ‘Ewo Deep’. Top officials at GHL describe it as “The Big Ewo”.

An analogue of the Big Ewo, in another part of OML 120

Although GHL wants to establish revenue inflow by re-entering and hooking up some of the producer wells that have been shut in for the past five years, there is also the proposition that “access to development funding will be enhanced if Ewo proves to be what it seems”, company sources say.

The Oyo field and associated prospects are located in Oil Mining leases (OML) 120 & 121. The field was producing before the acreages were revoked from Erin Energy, its previous operator.

GHC also wants to drill new prospects that had been identified and listed in the prospect inventory. Company sources insist that the available seismic and petrophysical data have been extensively reviewed and the locations high graded. “Schlumberger has worked on the studies, Baker Hughes has taken a comprehensive look and (the Nigerian subsurface consultant) D’Harmattan has been part of these studies”, GHL sources, who want to remain unnamed, tell Africa Oil+Gas Report. “GCA (Gaffney Cline & Associates, a firm of ‘Competent Persons’) has evaluated what Schlumberger and others have done”.

Africa Oil+Gas Report’s skepticism is borne out of the fact of the chequered history of OMLs 120 and 121.  Production from the Oyo field, the only producing property in the acreages, fell rapidly almost as soon as first oil gushed out in December 2009, crashing from 22,500Barrels Per Day (BOPD) to 4,000BOPD in the space of 10 months. By November 2014, the six well field was delivering less than 1,000BOPD.  Two wells drilled in 2015: Oyo- 7 and Oyo -8, took the field to over 10,000BOPD, but Erin Energy was severely indebted at the time and was so burdened by litigations and other woes it keeled over into bankruptcy. The Nigerian state moved in to revoke the assets in 2019. The company lost its Ghanaian asset the same way two years after. It is noteworthy that Oyo -7 and Oyo-8 are two of the locations that GHL

Oyo Field Performance Profile

proposes to re-enter in the course of the campaign. No one says that there is any new seismic acquisition or processing. The lingering question is: 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 planned drilling and re-entry in Oyo field &Co would be GHL’s first field operations since its incorporation in 2007. The company, owned by Nigerian investors, was discretionally awarded the OMLs 120 and 121 in 2020, several months after the revocation from the previous asset holder. It was one of the last discretionary awards of acreages under the laws that governed the country’s petroleum industry at the time. In the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which is the new overarching legislation of the industry, no company will access an acreage outside of the process of a bid round.


Uganda’s Petroleum Authority Joins the DANR Hub

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has joined the Data as a National Resource (DANR) hub.

The PAU, which monitors and regulates the exploration, development, and production, the refining, gas conversion, transportation, and storage of petroleum in Uganda, joins the Petroleum Agency of South Africa, SKK Migas, the North Sea Transition Authority, and the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator as early adopters and supporters of the DANR initiative.

Powered by the PPDM Association, DANR was launched last year to support established and emerging economies in leveraging successes and experiences from other areas. DANR aims to bring together regulators, National Oil Companies (NOC), National Data Repositories, and technology and service providers to collaborate, share experiences, and access training and resources.

“The PAU, which has been a member of the PPDM Association since 2019 is proud be part of the DANR Hub and congratulates the PPDM for this new initiative. The Authority set up a state-of-the-art ICT data centre in 2021. This data centre is part of the National Petroleum Data Repository infrastructure, which will include a Real-Time Monitoring Centre (RTMC), a disaster recovery facility, and a seismic data transcription facility among others. We, therefore, look forward to benefiting from the various DANR resources and events to improve how we manage our data at the PAU,’’ said Ernest Rubondo, the Executive Director of the PAU.

“It’s a great pleasure to welcome the Petroleum Authority of Uganda to the DANR community. Our community is dedicated to providing practical support for managing data as a national strategic resource through information sharing, research, training and networking. We hope that as the DANR community grows we will realise even more benefits to the PAU,” said Trudy Curtis, CEO of the PPDM Association, the organization heading DANR.

DANR is accessed through subscription, at minimal cost. Sponsorship is invited from service providers, and a range of sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information visit

Chevron Starts Production of a Marginal Oil Field in Angola

Chevron has commenced production on the Lifua field, located in Angola’s offshore Block 0, at a water depth of 70 meters. The development of the field is phased, with the Lifua-A fixed metallic platform, model (STS), recently installed, representing the first of three phases (A, B and C), for the Lifua project.

“The Lifua-A platform is interconnected with the existing facilities in the Takula Area and is expected to produce a total of 6,500 barrels of oil per day from the Vermelha and Likouala reservoirs”, according to ANPG, Angola’s petroleum regulatory agency.

“The equipment was 100% manufactured in Angola, applying low-cost concepts and technologies with a short manufacturing time”, ANPG explains in a release.

“The development strategy for this oil field is to apply innovative solutions, using existing facilities and services to reduce development and operating costs, in order to increase the economy of small discoveries of petroleum found in the current Development Areas”, the regulator says.

Chevron, through its Angolan subsidiary CABGOC, is the operator of Block 0 with 39.2%. Partners include Sonangol EP (41% interest), TOTALEnergies (10% interest) and ENI (9.8%).

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