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ENI Makes Another “Significant“  Discovery in Côte d’Ivoire

By Adeniyi Adeoloye

Italian major ENI has made yet another discovery offshore Côte d’Ivoire. This is coming after its Baleine find in 2021 which commenced production in August 2023.

The discovery, christened Calao, was penetrated by the Murene 1X well.

“Light oil, gas and condensates were encountered at different intervals in Cenomanian age reservoirs with permeability value of good to excellent”, ENI says in a release, adding that “drilling operations took place approximately 45 kilometres off the coast in block CI-205, reaching a depth of 5,000 metres in water depths of around 2,200 metres”.

The find is estimated to hold between 1 and 1.5Billion barrels of oil equivalent. If the Infrastructure led strategy of the company is still in play, this new discovered hydrocarbon pool can hit the market within a few years, the Italian explorer explains.

With Calao, ENI has made discoveries in the two blocks it acquired in Cote d’Ivoire in 2017.

Baleine was discovered in Block CI- 101.

The two deep offshore blocks, denominated CI-101 (Baleine) and CI-205 (Calao), are in the eastern part of the prolific Tano basin. Collectively, they, and cover a total area of about 2,850 square kilometers. Block CI-101 is at water depths of between 200 and 2,500 metres  and located 50kilometres  south of the capital Abidjan, while block CI-205 is at water depths of between 2,000 and 2,700 metres, and located 80 kilometres south-west from the city.

ENI has maintained a presence in Côte d’Ivoire since 2015 holding equity in various blocks including block CI-205, CI-101, CI-501, CI-801, and CI-802, all in partnership with the National Oil Company, Petroci Holding.







SDX Spuds Ksiri-21 Well in Morocco’s Gharb Basin

SDX Energy has commenced drilling the Ksiri-21 (“KSR-21”) well in Sebou Central of the Gharb Basin, Morocco.

The vertical development well will be drilled to a planned total depth of approximately 1,950 metres.

Using existing three dimensional (3D) seismic, the well is targeting a well-defined prospect within the main Hoot formation, which is the main producing sand in the area.

SDX has drilled over 20 production wells in the same basin. As such, this new well presents a low-risk step-out location. The well can be immediately brought into production, supplying gas to existing customers, under the improved gas price announced on 5 June 2023.

The company considers the drilling “an early milestone in SDX’s new roadmap in Morocco”.

As part of re-energising SDX’s upstream production, “we will assess the feasibility of drilling additional wells, back to back”, says Daniel Gould, SDX’s Chief Executive.

“This type of programme would reduce capex per well, ensure operational efficiency, and prove sufficient reserves of ‘gas-behind-pipe’ to meet both existing and future demand.”



Cheiron Encounters New Oil in the Gulf of Suez

The Egyptian independent Cheiron has made a new oil discovery in the Geisum and Tawila West Concession in the Gulf of Suez.

The new find was made by the GNN-11 exploration well, which was drilled into a fault block to the east of the GNN oil field development. The well encountered 165 feet of good quality vertical net pay in the Pre-Miocene Nubia formation and this is the first time the Nubia has been found to be oil bearing in the GNN area of the Concession. The producing reservoir in the main GNN field is in the Nukhul formation.

The well was drilled from the recently installed GNN Early Production Facility (EPF) and has been successfully placed on production at a rate of over 2,500Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD). As result of the new well, and the successful drilling campaign conducted to date on the field, the gross oil production from the Concession has reached 23,000BOPD, compared to 4,000BOPD before the GNN field was developed.

Cheiron (through its PICO GOS affiliate) holds a 60% working interest and operatorship in the Concession, with Kufpec holding the remaining 40% interest. The field operations are managed by the PetroGulf Misr Joint Operating Company on behalf of EGPC (50%) and the Partners (50%).

GNN-11 is the fourth well to be completed from the EPF, which is located in the central area of the field and includes a conductor support platform, a mobile offshore production unit and a 10-inch oil export pipeline, tied back to the existing Geisum Star production complex. A further 3 wells can be drilled from the EPF and these will be used to complete the current phase of the GNN drilling program.

The new Nubia discovery confirms the exploration potential in the northern area of the Concession and Cheiron and Kufpec are planning to drill at least three additional exploration wells in the Concession area. In a broader sense, the discovery also demonstrates that whilst the Gulf of Suez is a relatively mature hydrocarbon province, it still has significant remaining exploration potential.

Schlumberger Signs a Turnkey Drilling Contract for Libya’s Murzuq Basin

Libya’s National Drilling Company, a subsidiary company of NOC, the state hydrocarbon company, has signed a contract with US-based SLB (formerly Schlumberger) to support an upcoming drilling campaign.

The agreement is a turnkey contract.

NOC says it is a first of its kind in the country.

SLB will provide support to the National Drilling Company in drilling three wells for the Remas Libya Company in the Nesr and Al Waha fields.

The three wells are to be sited in two concessions (NC 115 and NC 186), in the Murzuq Basin.

Spain’s Repsol Exploration Murzuq S.A. (REMSA) is the operating partner to NOC on the project.

NOC explains that the purpose of the three wells is to increase oil production and enhance collaboration between national and international companies.



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 iongeo.com/Mauritania.

*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.


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