Nigeria’s Ororo-2 Oil Field Faces Fresh Start Up Challenges 

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Yemisi Izuora 

Nigeria Ororo oil field development is facing production start up challenges as Sirius Petroleum has put off for the third time the planned spud of a second gas well from the field to an indefinite date after a contracted jack-up rig became unavailable.

Ororo-2 well was to spud in the last quarter of 2018 according to the company but will have to wait a little longer for a re-confirmation of the availability of the Adriatic 1 drilling unit from Cayman Islands-based Shelf Drilling Holdings Ltd.

An earlier agreement was to mobilize the Adriatic 1 jack-up drilling unit from an adjacent oil block to the Ororo oil field for a possible November 2018 commencement of a 135-day work program. Sirius indicated that the drilling unit can drill to depths of 25,000ft in maximum water depths of 350ft and has capacity to accommodate 120 people.

Initially, Sirius had planned for an April 2018 spudding of the Ororo-2 well using the Chinese oilfield services company China Oilfield Services’ COSL Force jack-up unit. This was delayed to September 2018 before Sirius announced the following month the termination of the agreement with COSL and confirmed the new deal with Shelf Drilling.

According to Sirius, the agreement for the Adriatic 1 jack-up unit, which the company had made a partial payment of $3 million, would have seen the spudding of Ororo-2 well take place in the last quarter of 2018, but drilling has been delayed once more until Shelf Drilling provides “definitive timing” for the mobilization of the facility to the oil field offshore Ondo State in water depths ranging between 23ft and 27ft.

The push back of the Ororo-2 well spudding plan means Sirius has had to revise its earlier deadlines including planned development wells to deliver an estimated 2,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day, boepd in the first half of 2018. Sirius had already completed site surveys and the renewal of the company’s Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) documents.

Sirius, which has a 40 per cent economic interest in the Ororo oil field with indigenous partners Owena Oil & Gas (27 per cent) and Guarantee Petroleum (23 per cent), had earlier confirmed the drilling of the Ororo-2 well, which is planned as a directional well targeting the D and G sand reservoirs, was to be completed in 45 days from mobilization of the drilling rig to the project site.

Sirius, which plans a 12-month extended well test after the drilling and completion of Ororo-2 to depths of 10,125ft, had previously committed to full field development with at least five additional wells using six to eight laterals but all depending on the results of the delayed well. This field is adjacent to Mina, West Isan, Ekwan, Eko and Parabe fields that are operated by U.S. oil giant Chevron.

Chevron had in the 1980s drilled Ororo-1 well and discovered hydrocarbons in seven sand reservoirs of D1 to D5, F and G with two of the four reservoirs tested producing oil (D3 and G) while two others (D4 and D5) producing condensate.

“Given results at adjacent fields, Sirius believes that additional reservoir intervals may be encountered below current total depth of the Ororo-1 well,” said Sirius, which has partnered with operational partners Schlumberger and Add Energy in the Ororo oil field work program.

Furthermore, Sirius believes, “If a trap configuration is present, the likelihood of encountering additional hydrocarbons is considered high.”

Despite the delays in drilling of the Ororo, Sirius is optimistic its Nigerian investment strategy would work, especially if it succeeds in wooing winners of future planned offshore Niger Delta bid rounds for farm-in deals and also picking up a few assets likely to be disposed off by majors and super majors eyeing Nigeria’s deep and ultra-deep offshore locations.

Sirius, which tends to focus on shallow water offshore fields to avoid utilizing onshore infrastructure, appears to target what it says are “proven opportunities and maximizing hydrocarbon production and recovery through the acquisition of discovered assets in Nigeria with particular focus on shallow water offshore areas.”

With the huge interest by Nigerian government in supporting indigenous oil and gas companies in the exploration and development of offshore hydrocarbons resource, Sirius Petroleum can only delay momentarily its Ororo oil field work program.

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