All posts tagged Oil Patch Sub-Sahara

“We Drilled two Wells for Energia; Happy for them on Ebendo North 1 Discovery”

Matpatson Petroleum Services is a well engineering and drilling equipment procurement firm, fully engaged in turnkey drilling and associated services. It concluded drilling two wells back-to-back, barely a month ago, on the Ebendo field onshore Western Niger Delta for Energia Petroleum, the Nigerian marginal Field operator. OLUBUKOLA OKULAJA AND OLUMIDE ILESANMI, Matpatson’s Managing Director and General Manager Engineering & Project respectively… spoke with Africa Oil+Gas Report on the growing appetite for turnkey drilling services in the country, focusing on the value of delivering wells on time and on budget. Excerpts:

Africa Oil+Gas Report: Congratulations on delivering two wells back-to-back on Ebendo. There was so much excitement in …

Matpastson: We have done one exploration and one appraisal/development well back-to-back; all on turnkey, for Energia Petroleum, on their Ebendo field in Oil Mining Lease (OML 56).

The idea for contracting well drilling on a turnkey basis is not totally new in the industry, but if you remember, the operator provided everything apart from the actual making of the hole. However, we have gone beyond that, we drill the well and we provide everything. We also provide other services like open-hole logging, for which we make arrangement with other contractors. Basically, the client gives us the coordinates, we design the well and they agree with the design, we also write the programme and they agree with the programme and then we go to execute.

Raring to go: :”We have tubings, we have casing accessories, we have well heads and we have completion accessories all in our warehouse in Port Harcourt”.

So you are their drilling department in a sense.

Yes and they only have somebody that oversees what we are doing to ensure that it is in line with what we have agreed on. We didn’t just wake up and got there as Matpatson. We have a mission and a vision statement which was written in 2007.

We’d get to your mission statement. The Ebendo story sounds exciting…

Energia was actually going to drill in 2022 and they put out a tender for a rig and we approached them and said why don’t you just give us this job to do and we’d provide all the services.

So for turnkey you also actually have to provide the rig?

Yes you have to provide the rig and everything else. We did all the negotiations and they asked if we had everything and we said yes, they could come visit our warehouse here in Lagos. If they wanted to see some of the completion accessories, then they could come to our warehouse in Port Harcourt. Although we did two wells in this project, we have the capacity to do five wells back to back.  if we get a contract today, we don’t need to order anything. We have tubing, we have casing accessories, we have well heads and we have completion accessories all in our warehouse in Port Harcourt. We also have a pipe yard here in Lagos because at a point, it was actually easy to move stuff from here to the Warri zone rather than go from Port Harcourt because of the bad road. We still have pipes for about four wells here and five in Port Harcourt, tubing and casing..

You carried out e-logging on the wells too…and did the completion job?

Yes, we bring in top service companies, supervised by ranking Subject Matter Experts, for the e-logging and we pay them for that service. We actually have a contract with them for such services. But we complete the wells …

It is full oil field servicethat you do then.

Totally correct. Everything is on you; the risk is on you and the benefit is on you as the turnkey contractor. So that is like transferring the entire risk to you and you accept that. If you do your job very well and you have competent people, you are probably not taking too much risk and that is the difference between us and others.

Olumide Ilesanmi, General Manager Engineering & Projects

If you did the completion for them you should also know what their current production is.

Well, they haven’t actually run their flow line but off the record, their production is slightly over double.

How much more than 5,000BOPD?

More than that when they open up. They were so impressed with the way we drilled the well and its performance. The first well was the exploration well, Ebendo North. We actually asked them for permission to use these names in publications and they said we can.

Olubukola Okulaja, Managing Director

We did the job and we handed over the wells to them on the 31st of December, 2022. I think people have a totally different idea of turnkey even though turnkey is not new to the industry. But the Matpatson approach to turnkey is new. The old approach to turnkey: The operator appoints a company to drill a section of the hole. The contractor mentions its cost and it is paid and it drills, but the operator runs the casing and the cement (using other contractors). The drilling contractor is now asked to drill the second section hole for a number of days as well and that was the whole idea of what turnkey was. The competencies were largely retained with the operator but today, the competencies are with us (the drilling contractor, outside the Operator’s system). If you don’t have anybody at all, you can hire a consultant to take a look at what we do, we have all the competencies; not just the drilling competences. What we have done which is different is that for every critical item, we have a subject matter expert. Drilling of course comes under our umbrella. The project manager on the Ebendo work was Olumide Ilesanmi here, our General Manager, Engineering & Projects. He managed everything.

Regarding specialist subject matter experts we have, for open hole wireline, someone who had worked for Schlumberger before for 25 years. For well testing, we have somebody who has worked for Halliburton for like 20 years who is our SME. For mud engineering, we have someone like Dr. Victor Maduka. These people oversee those critical items while the rest are drilling supervisors. If your programme is properly written and the well is properly engineered, those guys are able to carry out the instructions very well. We have performed and done very well.

We have talked about SMEs but what about the people below them? What Matpatson has done is typically to pick up some of our engineers and drilling supervisors from NYSC and train them up. Do you know that Matpatson has a training school?


The full interview is published in the January/February 2023 edition of Africa Oil+Gas Report, which will be distributed to participants at the Sub-Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC) scheduled for February 14-16 2023 at the Eko Convention Centre in Lagos, Nigeria. It will subsequently be published on this website.



ReconAfrica: Well Meaning, Just Careless

By Toyin Akinosho, Lagos, Nigeria

After a swirl of good press featuring salutary articles about its daring into an under explored frontier basin and encountering a working petroleum system, ReconAfrica now appears to have arrived at that point where all the spears are aimed at it.

The Canadian independent is entangled in a class action suit in New York, United States, filed by shareholders who accuse it of issuing misleading statements that convinced them to buy shares between February 2019 and September 2021 – shares that have since tanked in value. “Defendants concealed material information from the public about the data from their first two oil and gas test wells, and about their plans to frack in Namibia, while selling millions of dollars of ReconAfrica stock to unsuspecting investors,” lawyers for the aggrieved investors wrote in papers filed in court.

ReconAfrica, in 2021, drilled two stratigraphic test wells in a very large, previously unregarded sedimentary basin, called the Kavango Basin onshore northern Namibia.  The 6-1 and 6-2 wells, the company reported, intersected over 300 metres  and 200metres of oil and gas shows respectively. ReconAfrica did not call any of these a discovery. Indeed, it stated clearly that “the two wells were drilled to provide stratigraphic, sedimentological, reservoir and geochemical information”.  Although the data in both wells was very positive, neither 6-1 nor 6-2 was tested since they were designed to be only stratigraphic wells.

Makandina 8-2, which was ReconAfrica’s third well in the basin, was the company’s first seismically defined probe in the campaign. It failed to encounter economic accumulations of hydrocarbons. The company placed the blame on the absence of a trap or a four-way dip closure.

But a lot of the complaints about ReconAfrica today is associated with claims that the explorer convinced people to buy shares, as if it went to town screaming: “Hey we have a hydrocarbon discovery here!” From a technical viewpoint, I think ReconAfrica did an amazing job defining an unknown basin using aero-gravity data.

But I also think they should not have started drilling before any seismic was recorded and interpreted.  I consider it sheer carelessness on their part not to have brought in test equipment for the first well, even it was called a stratigraphic well.  Had ReconAfrica tested even a small amount of oil, even as low as 500Barrels of Oil Per Day, it would have established their credibility.  But with no testing, nothing solid is known, just speculation.

The stock has been extremely volatile and this has been accelerated by the short sellers.

I wasn’t surprised that the Namibia government sold its half of its equity back to ReconAfrica. No.

I know the Namibian government to be extremely risk averse. You just need to take a look at its attitude to the Kudu field development (space will not permit me to go into that here) to understand the psychology behind its bailing out of Kavango.

One cynical report about ReconAfrica’s operations, published in the Daily Maverick, a widely respected South African platform, had a sentence that leapt at me: “Announcing the results of the third well in November, ReconAfrica said it had found no commercial oil, but still insisted that the data confirmed the presence of a working petroleum system”. That’s an extremely clueless statement.

Personally, I wish ReconAfrica a lot of luck. It’s a brave adventurer who came to forage for hydrocarbon in an unexplored miogeosyncline at a time (yes, right at the height of the pandemic) when nothing was happening anywhere.

Toyin Akinosho, publisher of Africa Oil+Gas Report, is a petroleum geoscientist of over three decades’ postgraduate experience.


CNOOC Starts a Widely Anticipated Frontier Drilling in Deepwater Gabon

China National Offshore Operating Company CNOOC, the Chinese state-owned E&P behemoth, has commenced a wildcat, as scheduled, in deepwaters offshore Gabon.

Tigre-1 is one of six frontier probes listed by analysts as possible basin opening wells in Africa.

The well is being drilled by the mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) Stena Icemax in blocks BC-9 and BCD-10. The latter was where Shell encountered 200 metres of net gas pay while drilling the Leopard-1 wildcat in 2014. Shell was excited by the result at the time and there were speculations (that Shell did not refute), of potential resource of 10Trillion cubic feet of gas in the Leopard structure, which is located below a salt (carbonate) formation.

Shell has since divested from the asset,as Gabon’s fiscal terms as of then did not allow for commercialization of natural.  CNOOC Ltd, its partner in the 2014 discovery, took over 100% and operatorship of both assets in an acquisition finalized in 2019. CNOOC’s ongoing drilling is targeting oil, downslope of Shell’s Leopard 1.

The drilling programme is crucial for Gabon, which has struggled, in vain for the last 30 years, to find itself in the deepwater production map of the world. It is the only African oil producing country, lying on the edge of the south Atlantic, without crude oil or gas output from the deepwater terrain.



Zimbabwe’s Mikuyu-1: Invictus Never Pronounced a Discovery

By Sully Manope, in Windhoek

Media reports about the conclusion of the Mikuyu-1 and Mikuyu-1 Sidetrack have played up the number of hydrocarbons shows encountered by these keenly watched wildcats.

But Invictus Energy, the Australian listed operator and 80% equity holder ofthe SG 4571 licence in Zimbabwe’s Cabora Bassa Basin, has never uttered the word “discovery” in any of its correspondences on the subject.

The company’s focus on identification of ”13 potential hydrocarbon bearing zones and combined 225metre gross potential hydrocarbon bearing zones identified in primary Upper Angwa target”, which have become  attention grabbing headlines, could, however create a “ReconAfrica Moment” for Invictus, as it can edge on investors to mentally mapping the “lead time” to first oil.

The company admits that “some gross intervals may contain significant proportions of non-net reservoir. Further log calibration will be obtained following completion of side wall core analysis”.

What is more, there were several challenges that Invictus faced in the process of drilling and they should have been farther up in the press releases than they are. A few:

  • Wireline log interpretation calculated porosity of up to 15% and gas saturation of up to 90% in selected potential pay zones in the Upper Angwa but are yet to be calibrated with fluid and core data and subsequently subject to wide margins of error.
  • Weak to strong hydrocarbon fluorescence was noted from approximately 2,100metre Measured Depth (mMD) in the Pebbly Arkose and was consistent to TD at 3,923mMD, with up to 100% fluorescence observed in some cuttings and side wall cores.
  • Further reservoir and potential pay intervals in the Upper Angwa intersected when the Mukuyu1 well was deepened from 3,618 to 3,923m could not be fully evaluated due to a breakdown in the borehole, preventing logging of the deepened section.

Invictus is still interpreting the well data with results to be integrated into the seismic interpretation and basin models to guide future well locations and exploration prospect selection. Of note is that planning has commenced for Mukuyu appraisal & Phase 2 drilling and evaluation.

The Company is now assessing the forward work programme and a range of targets for the first well in its Phase 2 drilling campaign, including Mukuyu-2 and Baobab-1, as well as other promising exploration prospects identified across the wider Cabora Bassa acreage. The timing of the forward exploration and drilling will be determined following the completion of long lead and well services tendering exercises which are commencing imminently.

BWE Spuds the ‘First Hibiscus’ in Gabon

BW Energy has spud the first production well on the Hibiscus / Ruche Phase 1 development in the Dussafu Block offshore Gabon. Drilling operations commenced on schedule in the first week of January and in line with the target of producing first oil in March 2023.

The Borr Norve jackup arrived on location in late December 2022 and immediately started preparations for the drilling campaign. The first production well, DHIBM-3H, targets the Gamba sandstone reservoir on the Hibiscus field and is expected to take just over two months to drill and complete. Installation of flexible pipelines and risers, completing the 20-kilometre connection between the BW MaBoMo production facility and the FPSO BW Adolo, was also finalised last week.

“We are on track for first oil towards the end of the first quarter. This will be the first step of many on a path for successive production growth as we complete the drilling Hibiscus / Ruche Phase 1 programme and asset upgrades through 2023 and into early 2024,” said Carl Krogh Arnet, the CEO of BW Energy.

The initial Hibiscus / Ruche Phase 1 drilling campaign targets the Hibiscus and Ruche fields which are expected to add approximately 30,000 barrels per day of total oil production when all wells are completed in early 2024.

Meanwhile the new gas lift compressor to support production for the six existing Tortue wells was lifted onboard the BW Adolo in December 2022. Installation work is ongoing. Commissioning and start-up of the compressor is expected to commence immediately after first oil from Hibiscus / Ruche which has priority during the current high-activity period onboard the FPSO.


Mikuyu: Invictus Can ‘Feel’ the Oil, but Can’t Evaluate It

Invictus Energy’s Mukuyu-1 wildcat, onshore Zimbabwe, has drilled through sequences the company considers highly prospective.

But the operator can’t run wireline tools to determine the extent of hydrocarbon accumulations because of the deterioration in the hole at the much desired, deeper section.

The option now is to sidetrack the hole: plug back the existing 8½” wellbore section to seal off hydrocarbon zones and leave the well in a safe state prior to and commencing the re-drill of the upper 8½” hole section to approximately 3,500metres Measured Depth (MD).

The London listed explorer says that its first well in Zimbabwe’s Cabora Bassa Basin was successfully deepened to 3,923 metres MD, “encountering additional elevated gas shows and fluorescence through to total depth”

Mudlog (pre-wireline logging) results of the Upper Angwa formation, suggest it is thicker than pre-drill estimates with a potential for thickness of over a 900metre gross interval, h which, the company says, “bodes well for future prospectivity in the Cabora Bassa Basin”.

But after “reaching TD, the borehole was prepared to run wireline logs, however, due to a deterioration in borehole conditions, the tools were unable to pass below a depth of approximately 3,030mMD where the primary fluid sampling targets are located. As there is likelihood of losing tools and not meeting the objectives of the well, the decision has been made to sidetrack^ the Mukuyu-1 well in order to complete our evaluation and obtain a fluid sample”.

Forward plan Exalo Rig 202 is preparing to plug back the existing 8½” wellbore section to seal off hydrocarbon zones and leave the well in a safe state prior to and commencing the re-drill of the upper 8½” hole section to approximately 3,500mMD. This will provide sufficient information to calibrate the deeper sections of the original Mukuyu-1 wellbore. The sidetrack well (Mukuyu-1 ST-1) will be drilled to a slight updip location to the north of Mukuyu-1, with a lower mud weight and solids content mud system (approximately 1,500psi reduction in overbalance), which will improve the logging conditions and chances of successfully obtaining a fluid sample. Following conclusion of sidetrack drilling, the well will be logged, including wireline formation testing, with final results to be provided. The Mukuyu-1 ST-1 well will then be suspended for potential future testing.

ReconAfrica to Test the Karoo Rift in Wisdom 5-1 Well

Smarting from the disappointing results of Makandina 8-2, the first seismically defined well it would drill in Namibia’s Kavango Basin, ReconAfrica is building the access road and drilling pad for the next probe, the Wisdom 5-1 (previously referred to as the P 2-7), wildcat.

The plan is to spud the well in mid-December 2022.

Makandina 8-2 failed because of lack of a trapping mechanism for the accumulation in the prospect area, in the view of the operator.

The Wisdom 5-1 well will, on the contrary, be located in a sequence marked by high structuration.

“The well will principally test stacked plays in a different part of the Karoo Rift Basin”, ReconAfrica says in a release. “This drilling location is controlled by three seismic lines which show that the targeted structure may extend three kilometres in the strike direction. This roll-over structure (the target) lies in a deeper part of the rift basin”.

The main objective of this well is to penetrate an extended Karoo stratigraphy, comprising stacked source rock, reservoir, and trapping intervals.

“An additional objective is to penetrate the deeper Pre-Karoo once again, to test the source and reservoir intervals. In close proximity are other structures of interest, which could develop into a target rich exploration area, some reachable by deviating the 5-1 well”.


Eco Atlantic is Upbeat About South Africa, Despite the Disappointing Gazana-1 Probe

Eco Atlantic will move on to executing its plans for other exploration wells offshore South Africa, after the dismal results of its first wildcat in the country.

Gazania-1 spudded on Block 2B on October 10, 2022, and it reached target depth of 2,360metres but did not show evidence of commercial hydrocarbons. The well will now be plugged and abandoned as planned.

“The well logging is currently on-going and the JV Partners will undertake a detailed analysis of the results, which will inform our future plans”, Eco Atlantic says in a statement. “The JV Partners submitted a Production Right Application to the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) on November 15, 2022, for Block 2B, based on the existing oil discovery of AJ-1 and potential future operations.  Therefore, the JV Partners have time to conduct further analysis and integration of the Gazania-1 well data to allow them to determine the next steps on the Block”.

Eco Atlantic is also involved in a two-well campaign on Block 3B/4B offshore South Africa, planned to commence drilling in 2023. Eco Atlantic through Azinam holds a 26.25% participating interest in Block 3B/4B, with strategic alliance partners, Africa Oil Corp., the operator of the block, holding a 20% participating interest, and Ricocure, which holds the remaining 53.75% participating interest.

Block 3B/4B, is located between 120-250 km offshore South Africa in the Orange Basin, directly south of the discoveries offshore Namibia announced earlier this year by Shell (Graff-1) and TOTALEnergies (Venus-1). The 3B/4B Block covers an area of 17,581 sq km and lies in water depths ranging from 300-2500 m. The block partners are currently reprocessing a large, three dimensional (3D) seismic survey that will be used to high-grade leads towards identifying drilling targets and preparing for a potential drilling campaign next year.




Waltersmith’s Ibigwe -13 is a Duster, But Other Results Are Good

The Nigerian producer Waltersmith Petroman, has completed a three well drilling campaign on the Ibigwe field, with mixed results.

Ibigwe -13 was an exploratory well which came up dry.  “The upside drilling that we did which was the exploration well that you referred to”, Chike Nwosu, Waltersmith’s Managing Director, told Africa Oil+Gas Report. “It let us test, you know, some of the prospects which are within the field but in a different structural component of the field and we’ve seen some results there, which we are continuing to study to give us a better understanding of the field”.

Nwosu explained that “based on a success case we plan to drill two additional wells in that area. But you know, like it is with Waltersmith, we do both offside exploration and development wells; we want to sweat the asset as much as we can”.

The company considers the three well campaign a success, as it has completed the two development wells.  “One of them required a slight intervention because there was a slight problem in one of the strings”, he explained.

The production expected from the two wells is “anywhere between 2,000 and 2,500 barrels of oil per day from the two wells”, Nwosu said, before adding: “Okay, including about one to two million standard cubic feet per day of gas”.

A full transcript of a long interview with Nwosu is published as part of our C-SUITE series.


Saipem Wins Drilling Contracts in Angola, Cote D’Ivoire

Italian contractor Saipem has been awarded two Ultra Deep-Water contracts offshore West Africa for drilling operations with the sixth-generation Drillship Saipem 12000.

The first contract was awarded by ENI for drilling operations offshore Cote d’Ivoire, expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2022 and extend the current activities of the rig in the area of about six months.

The second contract was awarded by Azule Energy for drilling, completion, and testing of development and exploration wells offshore Angola in Block 15/06 operated by ENI Angola S.p.A. The contract will have the duration necessary to drill and complete 12 firm wells (estimated lasting 26 months) and include the possibility of extension for an optional term”, Saipem explains. The project is scheduled to start in 2023 in continuity with the previous works of the rig in West Africa.

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