Gabon: International Oil Companies (Iocs) Ramp Up Drilling, Unlocking Future Production

(MENAFN- African Press Organization)
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Targeting a production upward of 220,000 barrels per day (bpd), Gabon is reinventing its oil and gas industry as operators launch new drilling and appraisal activities, apply the latest enhanced oil recovery techniques and invest in the establishment of a domestic gas network. At Invest in African energy 2024 in Paris – a two-day forum connecting global investors with Africa's key energy developments – investors will explore Gabon's transformation into one of the most dynamic near-field and deepwater exploration markets on the continent.

As a mature oil producer, Gabon has directed its efforts toward optimizing its mature and marginal assets, with short-cycle developments able to bring new discoveries online at a lower cost and in reduced time by utilizing existing infrastructure. In November 2023, BW Energy announced a commercial oil discovery at its Hibiscus South satellite prospect offshore Gabon – estimated to hold 16 million barrels of oil in place – which it plans to finish as a production well in early-2024. The E&P company increased production from its Dussafu Marin Permit after completing four production wells at the close of last year, with each well adding 6,000-6,500 bpd. The Hibiscus and Ruche Development is expected to produce 40,000 bpd by mid-2024.

Organized by Energy Capital & Power, IAE 2024
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In early February, Anglo-French independent Perenco began appraisal drilling near its Hylia South West discovery to target additional reservoirs and establish estimated oil volumes in place, ranging between 20 and 100 million barrels. The company began production from the field last October, producing around 6,000 bpd. Meanwhile, U.S. independent VAALCO Energy is prioritizing near-field exploration at its Etame Marin Offshore Fields Development where it is currently interpreting 3D seismic data, with a view to a potential drilling campaign in 2024. French major TotalEnergies is also focusing on nearby offshore exploration and investing in well intervention and related technologies, after signing a new 25-year contract on its Baudroie-Mérou Marine G5-143 permit.

That said, redevelopment of mature fields has not come at the expense of frontier exploration in Gabon's deep offshore. Chinese oil firm CNOOC launched wildcat drilling at the start of 2023 in Blocks BC-9 and BCD-10 and is considering the use of a floating LNG vessel, should its Tigre-1 frontier probe find sufficient offshore oil and gas volumes. The Tigre prospect holds recoverable resource potential of up to 1.4 billion barrels and could double Gabon's oil output if successfully put into production, as well as de-risk future deepwater exploration in the Gabon Coastal Basin.

A key focus of Gabon's retooled plans is the exploration and monetization of natural gas, of which the country is estimated to hold between three and five trillion cubic feet. Under its Gas Master Plan, Gabon aims to stimulate upstream exploration, reduce gas flaring, improve domestic supplies of LPG, LNG and CNG, increase gas-fired power generation and establish associated downstream industries. Perenco is leading Gabon's gas campaign through the construction of the $1-billion Cap Lopez LNG terminal, featuring a capacity of 700,000 tons per year when it comes online in 2026. This will complement the 15,000 tons of butane set to be produced from the company's LPG plant in Batanga, which opened last December.

Perenco has also signed an MOU with Gabon Power Company to construct a gas-fired power plant in Mayumba, which will recover associated gas from offshore fields to generate up to 50 MW to electrify Gabon's remote southern provinces. These developments and more speak to the untapped investment potential within Gabon's gas exploration, transport, storage and processing capabilities, which will be unpacked at the upcoming forum.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Energy Capital & Power.


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