Nine deepwater oil blocks in West African Gulf of Guinea produce about half of the total crude oil and condensate volumes from the region, solidifying the fact that the future of oil in Africa lies in the deepwater.
Stories: Sopuruchi Onwuka
Nine big deepwater blocks offshore West Africa lead crude oil production in the region with impressive 2.193 million barrels per day. Interestingly, Angola leads in the deepwater production race with 1.298 million barrels per day from just four blocks operated by foreign oil multinationals that rule the West African upstream petroleum industry.
However, Nigeria naturally follows with estimated 895, 000 barrels per day from five major deepwater fields operated by the country’s traditional multinational players. According to figures extracted from reports posted y secondary sources, Total features prominently in the West African deepwater production, contributing nearly half of the total deepwater petroleum output from the region.
In Angola where it has become a metaphor of deepwater success, Total pumped impressive 719, 000 barrels per day in January from the operated Block 17 where four prolific fields are hosted in one deepwater cluster. The fields in that acreage include Girassol, Dalia, CLOV and Pazflor. Pazflor came on stream in 2011 with peak production at 220,000BOPD in 2012. It is still producing around 200,000BOPD. Still in Angola, the ExxonMobil operated Block 15 is listed as Angola’s second largest producing acreage with average of 259,000BOPD in January.
In Angola too, BP is making statements in two deepwater blocks; pumping some 180, 000 barrels per day from operated Block 31 and another 140, 000 barrels per day from sister Block 18. With the two blocks, BP alone delivers 320, 000 barrels per day for the country which is in dire need of export receipts to recover from devastation of prolonged internal conflict. In Nigeria, Chevron operated Agbami deepwater field leads the multinational pack with stable 250, 000 barrels per day, a performance that has developed keen interest in the field’s reserves status. According to a report in an industry specific magazine, Chevron operated Agbami deepwater field has delivered 250,000 barrels per day consistently for over five years.
It was gathered that the industry regulator, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has revised the reserves status of the field to 2.4 billion barrels but the basis for the recategorization heavily depends on the flimsy assumptions on production performance. A petroleum engineer stated that thet it would be funny to simply re-categorize a field’s reserves status simply by looking at its production performance. He explained that reservoir conditions such as good porosity and pressure might give sustainable output as has been witnessed in Agbami. Total in Nigeria may also on the way to becoming deepwater production champion with its hat-trick deepwater projects, two of which are already delivered and producing. The company’s Akpo deepwater field contributes some 167, 000 barrels per day while Usan deepwater field has a nameplate capacity of 180, 000 barrels per day.
The company is also driving development of proximate Egina deepwater field, a feat that has established the French major a West African deepwater champion. Also From Nigeria’s deepwater comes significant production from ExxonMobil operated deepwater Erha Field which has a nameplate production capacity of 150, 000 barrels per day. Then comes the Shell operated Bonga field which currently produces around 148,000BOPD, after a lift from its northern satellite (Bonga North) last August.
Shell in a bulletin that its Nigerian arm is activating a ‘Bonga Business Improvement Plan’, to increase output from the oil field from 148,000 barrels per day to 210,000 barrels per day by 2017. The Bonga field reached peak production of 200,000 barrels per day by June 2006 and had fallen to less than 100,000 barrels per day when the Bonga North, a satellite of the field, came on line to boost output in August 2014. Shell’s Bonga Soutwest/Aparo field development programme is also running to optimize output from the block while the company is also a key partner with Eni in the giant Zabazaba deepwater field development.