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Kosmos Energy entered Equatorial Guinea with a splash by acquiring Hess' 85% stake in two long-producting oil fields for US$650 million, as well as signing production sharing contracts (PSCs) for three other blocks in the Rio Muni basin, the country's Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons confirmed today (23 October).

Hess’ exit from Equatorial Guinea comes after nearly two decades of operations at the Ceiba field and Okume complex, in the Rio Muni basin, which began producing in 2000 and 2006, respectively. Hess' partners in the fields, Tullow Oil (15%) and national oil company GEPetrol (5%, carried interest), will remain. The sale is expected to close by year's end.

During the first half of 2017, Hess said that net production from the its assets in Equatorial Guinea averaged 28,000 bo/d. Hess celebrated 200 MMbbl of oil last year at Okume, located in about 1600ft of water and about 150mi south of Bioko Island in the Gulf of Guinea. The Okume Complex consists of the Elon, Okume, Oveng and Ebano reservoirs. Hess said at the time that it had drilled 48 producing wells and completed three distinct seismic campaigns since production began in December 2006.

CEO John Hess said that the sale is part of the company's strategy to refocus its portfolio. Hess said the company has been investing in higher return assets and divesting, "more mature, higher cost assets." 

"Proceeds from asset sales, along with cash on our balance sheet, are expected to fund the development of our truly world class investment opportunity offshore Guyana," John Hess said in a statement.

In addition to picking up Hess' assets in Equatorial Guinea, Kosmos signed three PSCs – the company's first within the country – with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons and GEPetrol for Block EG-21, Block S and Block W, offshore Rio Muni.

Block EG-21, which spans 2495sq km, was offered for tender during the EG Ronda 2016 oil and gas licensing round. Block S (covering 1245sq km) and Block W (covering 2254sq km) were previously operated by CNOOC and PanAtlantic Energy, respectively, and were negotiated directly with Kosmos. Kosmos will hold 80% stake in all blocks, and GEPetrol will control the remaining 20%.

“We thank Hess for its years of service, for its input of technology, knowledge and financing, and above all for its careful stewardship of these important national resources,” said Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima. “Now, Kosmos Energy brings a new sense of action and commitment to the Ceiba and Okume fields. We are delighted to welcome our new partners as investors and producers, as well as explorers in blocks S, W and EG-21 in the same region. This deal is nothing less than historic, and shifts focus towards the hugely promising Rio Muni basin.”

The PSCs are based on Equatorial Guinea’s model, and stipulate minimum work programs that comprise a first exploratory period of three years, which include acquiring seismic data; a second exploratory period of two years, which includes drilling an exploratory well; and the possibility of two one-year extensions, which include requirements to conduct seismic interpretation and drill another exploration well, respectively, the Ministry said.

According to the Ministry, the purchase of Hess’ assets combined with the new licenses make Kosmos the biggest petroleum explorer by acreage and the sole producer in Equatorial Guinea’s Rio Muni southern maritime area.

The report of the sale between Hess and Kosmos came after the news that Hess (along with its partners) and the ministry reached a $220 million settlement on tax issues related to the companies' interests in the Ceiba and Okume oil fields. The settlement cleared a path toward today's sell to Kosmos. 

Photo from Hess.

Thursday, 19 October 2017 22:27

LLOG pipeline leaks 16,000 bbl into GoM

New figures released by the US Coast Guard (USCG) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) show that approximately 16,000 bbl (672,000 gallons) of oil have discharged from a damaged pipeline, operated by Louisiana’s LLOG Exploration, into the Gulf of Mexico, the agencies announced on Thursday, 19 October.

The leak was discovered on Thursday, 12 October. It occurred approximately 40mi southeast of Venice, Louisiana, in 4463ft deep water. BSEE said a remotely operated vehicle observed a fracture in a jumper pipe leading from Mississippi Canyon Block 209, Well No. 1 to a manifold on the seafloor. BSEE said that due to shutting in the well, the flow through the fracture in the pipe has ceased.

The USCG and BSEE said that revised calculations of the amount of oil discharged is higher than previously released on Wednesday, 18 October, when it was thought to be 9350 bbl (392,700 gallons) that had discharged from the damaged pipeline.

The agencies said they are working with LLOG and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to locate and respond to any oil that comes to the surface. However, USCG said that it is unlikely that any recoverable oil will be discovered due to the depth and pressure at which the oil was released. If it does, trajectory models from LLOG and NOAA note that any discharged oil will drift southwesterly, and is not expected to impact the shoreline, USCG said.

The pipeline was pressurized to more than 3000psi, and the USCG said that this high-pressure discharge through a small opening likely caused the oil to be broken down into small particles and disperse into deep water currents prior to reaching the surface. Water samples taken along the trajectory path at various depths have not detected the presence of oil, USCG said.

"While the reported discharge amount is very significant, we are confident in the calculations completed by the LLOG and NOAA scientists,” said Cmdr. Heather Mattern from US Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City, Louisiana. “Additionally, the lack of any recoverable oil identified by over flights and subsea inspections conducted throughout the past week supports this explanation.”

BSEE announced on Monday, 16 October, that it had launched a five-member panel investigation into the incident.

Map from BSEE.

Thursday, 19 October 2017 22:10

First Cambodian oil field wins FID

Singapore-based explorer KrisEnergy will proceed with the first phase of its Apsara oil field, the first hydrocarbon project offshore Cambodia, the company announced today (19 October).

Phase 1A of the Apsara development, in Cambodia Block A in the Gulf of Thailand, is planned to be a single unmanned minimum facility 24-slot wellhead platform producing to a moored production barge with capacity for 30,000 b/d of fluid with gas, oil and water separation facilities on the vessel. Oil will be sent via a 1.5km pipeline for storage to a permanently moored floating, storage and offloading vessel.

“[The final investment decision] is another step in progressing the Apsara development within the target timeframe following the formal signing of the petroleum agreement in late August," said Kelvin Tang, KrisEnergy’s CEO and president of Cambodian operations. "Our technical and operations teams are preparing the necessary tenders for materials, equipment and services. In parallel, consultations continue with parties interested to join this groundbreaking project to reduce our operational risk and capital expenditure exposure.”

The Cambodia Block A contract area covers 3083sq km over the Khmer Basin in the Gulf of Thailand where water depths range 50-80m. KrisEnergy says that the individual oil accumulations in Cambodia Block A are small in size and spread over a large geographic area, requiring significant funds and time to fully develop. Additionally, reservoir production performance in the Khmer Basin has yet to be proven.

"For these reasons, among others, there is some uncertainty regarding long-term production rates, reserves and commercial viability and therefore a phased development approach has been prudently adopted," the company said. Once the initial Phase 1A platform is on stream, there will be a period to monitor reservoir performance before commencing Phase 1B. The company says 1B would see up to three additional platforms producing to the Phase 1A facilities. A Phase 1C will potentially add up to six additional platforms for the full 10-platform Apsara development.

It's been a long road to FID. In 2014, KrisEnergy purchased Chevron's Cambodia business for US$65 million. The purchase included the Cambodia Block A.

KrisEnergy operates Cambodia Block A and holds 95% working interest. The General Department of State Property and Non Tax Revenue of the Ministry of Economy and Finance holds the remaining 5% on behalf of Cambodia's government.

Read more

Video: KrisEnergy to develop Cambodia's first oil field

Thursday, 19 October 2017 16:57

Energean: Montenegro blocks hold 438 MMboe

Mediterranean explorer Energean Oil & Gas praised the “untapped potential” of its two blocks offshore Montenegro, which may hold 1.8 TCF of gas and 144 MMboe of liquids (438 MMboe in total), according to a new report by Netherland Sewell & Associates (NSAI).

Energean owns 100% interest in blocks 4218-30 and 4219-26, which were awarded in March this year. The blocks cover 338sq km in shallow water (50-100m), in the eastern Adriatic Sea, offshore the southwest side of the country.

The Greece-based explorer said the NSAI report is part of a three-year exploration phase, which includes a 3D seismic survey set to begin Q1 2018 over the two blocks. Energean estimates the initial exploration phase to cost US$5 million.

“The [competent persons report] further suggests that Montenegro sits in the ‘sweet spot’ of untapped potential in the eastern Adriatic,” said Energean CEO Mathios Rigas. “The area remains substantially underexplored, despite having what appears to be working petroleum system with extensive sandstone and carbonate reservoir development.

“The western offshore Adriatic has been a prolific hydrocarbon-producing province for over 50 years for both oil and biogenic gas and we believe that the same hydrocarbon plays extend into offshore Montenegro.”

Energean holds interest in the 37 MMbbl (2P) Prinos license offshore Greece, and its Israeli subsidiary (a 50-50 partnership between Energean and Kerogen Capital) holds 100% interest in the Karish and Tanin fields offshore Israel.

Energean is not alone in wanting explore offshore Montenegro. Italian explorer Eni signed a concession for four offshore blocks 4118-4, 4118-5, 4118-9 and 4118-10 back in September 2016. Eni has a 50-50 partnership with OAO Novatek for the blocks, which span 1228sq km.

Image from Energean.

Read more:

Energean to explore off Montenegro

Montenegro offshore bids submitted

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