Sustained growth ahead for
deepwater drilling, foating production
Total investments in deepwater drilling could surge from $43 billion last year to $114 billion in 2022, according to a new study by
Wood Mackenzie. Global drilling activity returned to pre-Macondo
highs in 2012, the analysts claim, and the deepwater drilling sector
is set for annual growth of 9% over the next decade. Majors are driving much of the activity, and that trend should continue with a 39%
increase last year in deepwater and Arctic acreage licensed by the
20 leading deepwater players.
To meet the forecast exploration, appraisal, and development well
numbers – set to rise from 500 to 1,250 wells per year – another 95
deepwater rigs will need to be built during 2016-22, WoodMac says.
This will represent the longest period of deepwater rig construction
to date. Tightness in the market has been driven by accelerated demand for newbuilds following Macondo, which has heightened the
operators’ focus on risk mitigation.
In another new market report, energy analysts Infeld forecasts an 18%
hike in expenditure on foating production systems (FPS) in the period
to 2017, with a 95% increase in installations that year compared with 2008.
Growth in both cases is being driven mainly by new gas feld developments in remote locations, and the focus on optimizing production from
ultra-deepwater projects. Around 59% of total FPS capex over the next fve
years should come from deep/ultra-deepwater developments off Africa
and Latin America and from mostly shallow-water gas developments offshore Australia. Toward the end of the fve-year period, new areas to FPS
activity will emerge off East Africa and the Falkland Islands.
Statoil has found more oil in the Flemish Pass basin offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. The semisub West Aquarius drilled the Harpoon
discovery well in 1, 100 m ( 3,609 ft) of water on the EL 112 concession,
10 km ( 6. 2 mi) southeast of Statoil’s 100-200-MMbbl Mizzen fnd and 500
km (310 mi) northeast of St John’s. The company has since spudded a
well on the Federation prospect in the Jeanne d’Arc basin, to be followed
by another on the Bay du Nord structure, southwest of the two discoveries.
RWE Dea is to farm into 40% of block 52 offshore Suriname, operated by Petronas. The concession covers 4,743 sq km ( 1,828 sq mi) in
the Guyana-Suriname basin, 120 km ( 74 mi) offshore, in water depths
Jeremy Beckman • London
ranging from 100-1,000 m (328-3,281 ft). Strongest potential could be
in Upper Cretaceous strata. The work program includes a 3D seismic
survey and one exploration well during the next three years.
Off neighboring Guyana, Tullow has agreed to farm into 30% of
the newly defned Kanuku block, operated by Repsol. The original
Georgetown license expired last year following the partners’ decision to terminate the Jaguar 1 exploration well. Terms for the new
license include acquisition of 3D seismic.
Kosmos Energy has contracted the new deepwater drillship
Atwood Achiever for exploration drilling offshore Morocco. The rig
is under construction at the DSME shipyard in South Korea and
should be delivered in June 2014. It will work for Kosmos for a frm
three years at a day rate of around $595,000/day.
CNR International has secured a 60% operating interest in block
CI-12 offshore Cote d’Ivoire. The concession contains two undevel-
oped oil discoveries from the 1980s, with potential Turonian fan chan-
nels not drilled previously. It is west of CNR’s producing Baobab feld
where a third development phase has started, comprising fve new
production wells and one injector. First oil is due in 2Q 2015.
Also close to Baobab is block CI-504 where Lukoil Overseas has
become operator, in partnership with Nigerian independent Taleveras
Energy and state-owned Petroci. Here water depths run from 800-2, 100
m ( 2,624-6,890 ft). Focus of the frst exploration period will be on interpreting historic seismic and acquiring new 3D data by next January.
Total has started development of the deepwater Egina feld, 200 km
( 124 mi) offshore Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and 20 km (12.4 mi) south-
west of the company’s producing Akpo feld. Water depth is 1,600 m
( 5,249 ft). Development calls for 44 wells connected to a 330-m ( 1,082-
ft) long FPSO with 2.3-MMbbl oil storage capacity and facilities to
accommodate future tie-ins. Contracts let to date include subsea pro-
duction systems to FMC Technologies ($1.2 billion); 76 km ( 47 mi)
of steel tube umbilicals to DUCO; and a $3-billion EPCI contract to
Saipem for installation of fowlines, pipelines, and mooring/offoading
systems, with much of the equipment fabricated at the company’s Ru-moulumeni yard in Port Harcourt. Total expects frst oil at end-2017,
building to a peak of 200,000 b/d.
Optimum could have a substantial oil discovery off Nigeria, according
to partner Afren. The Ogo- 1 well confrmed an extension of the same
Cretaceous sandstones that delivered other fnds farther west along the
West African Transform Margin. It encountered a 524-ft (160-m) gross
hydrocarbon section. The well was due to be deepened to target further
high-potential zones, followed by a side track testing a new play.
Production has started from the $10-billion Angola LNG project,
designed to harness associated gas from producing oilfelds in vari-
ous blocks offshore Angola. Gas is transferred through a network of
subsea pipelines to a liquefaction plant on the coast near the Congo
River. According to operator Chevron, the facilities will be able to de-
liver 5. 2 MM metric tons/yr ( 5. 7 MM tons/yr) of LNG, 63,000 b/d
of NGLs for export, and 125 MMcf/d for Angola’s domestic needs.
Other partners are BP, Eni, Sonangol, and Total.
Technip subsidiary Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants is perform-
ing a front-end engineering design study for subsea facilities for
Tullow Oil’s Kudu gas-to-power project. Shell originally discovered
the Kudu gas feld in 170 m (558 ft) of water offshore Namibia, but
until now, successive studies have failed to fnd a commercial solu-
tion for the stranded reserves. Tullow plans three subsea wells tied
back to a foating production system, with processed gas sent to a