As Gabon works to increase its crude oil production by 50 percent by 2020/2021, US hydrocarbon exploration firm, Vaalco Energy announced that it will begin its drilling campaign the country’s offshore this September.
The start of the drilling campaign follows a successful full-field maintenance shut down at four of Vaalco’s platforms in the Etame Marin license, which has since returned to its pre-shutdown production levels, and the extension of Vaalco’s lease contract for the Petroleo Nautipa floating, production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) to September 2021. The FPSO has a capacity to process 25,000 barrels per day from the Etame, Ebouri, Avouma, South Tchibala, North Tchibala and South-east Etame fields.
The five-well drilling campaign will begin with the Etame 9P appraisal well and follow with the 9H development well from the Etame platform. “Our current plans are to drill up to three development wells and two appraisal wellbores funded from cash on hand and cash generated from operations,” said Chief Executive Cary Bounds.
Vaalco estimates a net drilling budget of $20m to $25m this year and $5m to $10m in 2020. Further, the Gabon-focused firm said it believes that the two appraisal wells may confirm up to up to “five million net barrels of 2P oil reserves spread across six well locations targeted in future drilling campaigns.”
As part of its plans, it also expects to deliver the Vantage International Topaz jack-up drilling rig in this September.
Other activities in 2019, include Gabon’s 12th shallow and deep water licensing round; recently, an revised hydrocarbon code, which is fiscally more attractive than the previous one; and Petronas signing for a further two exploration permits – the two offshore blocks, F12 and F13, are said to have a production capacity of 200,000 bpd.
With proven oil reserves of 2.5-billion barrels, Gabon is one of the more established hydrocarbons producers in the Gulf of Guinea.