Island Innovator rig; Source: Island Drilling

Island Drilling’s rig kicks off three-well program in African waters

Oil and gas company Trident Energy and its joint venture (JV) partners have embarked on a three-well infill drilling campaign on Block G offshore Equatorial Guinea, located on the west coast of Central Africa. The drilling activities are being carried out with Island Drilling’s rig.

Island Innovator rig; Source: Island Drilling

With a 40.375% working interest, Trident Energy is the operator of Block G, covering both the producing Ceiba and Okume Complex fields in shallow and deep water in the Rio Muni basin. The list of other partners in this asset encompasses Kosmos Energy (40.375%), Panoro Energy (14.25%), and GEPetrol (5%). The Island Innovator rig has now started the planned three-well infill drilling campaign at Block G.

The first of these new infill wells is expected on stream around the end of the first quarter of 2024 while all three wells are anticipated to be online by mid-year. The 2012-built Island Innovator rig is a sixth-generation semi-submersible drilling, well intervention, and completion unit of GM4000 WI enhanced design.

Trident hired the Island Innovator rig in September 2022 for two firm and five optional wells. Afterward, the company exercised two of these options for development drilling and workover in July 2023, adding another 85 days to the contracted work in Equatorial Guinea.

The rig’s backlog was extended further in September 2023 after Trident exercised one more option, adding another 40 days to the contracted work on behalf of another operator in Equatorial Guinea. The company still has two more options that may be exercised to extend the rig’s stay further.

John Hamilton, CEO of Panoro, commented: “We are pleased to have commenced the planned infill drilling campaign at Block G which we expect to materially increase gross production at the Ceiba field and Okume Complex from the 2023 average level of 25,000 bopd once all three new wells are onstream.”

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As part of Trident’s plan to further develop its assets in Equatorial Guinea, the first drilling campaign in the country was done in 2021, which consisted of three wells – OG-01, OB-15, and OB-14 – and the drilling of the first of these three infill wells at the Okume Complex was completed back in August 2021. The drilling operations were done by the Vantage Drilling-owned Sapphire Driller jack-up rig.

Located in the Gulf of Guinea, the Ceiba field and Okume Complex assets comprise six oil fields. Situated on the slope of the southern Rio Muni Basin some 35 kilometers offshore, the Ceiba field was developed in phases with the production wells tied back to the Ceiba FPSO.

The Okume Complex consists of five separate oil fields – OkumeEbanoOvengAkom North, and Elon – tied back to a central processing facility (CPF) at one of the Elon platforms. The processed oil from the CPF is transported via a 25-kilometre pipeline to the Ceiba FPSO for export.

Upon the completion of the Block G infill drilling campaign, the Island Innovator rig will relocate to Block S where it will drill the Kosmos Energy-operated Akeng Deep infrastructure-led exploration (ILX) well, which is intended to test a play in the Albian, targeting an estimated gross mean resource of around 180 million barrels of oil close to existing infrastructure at Block G.

“With the high-impact Akeng Deep infrastructure-led exploration well at Block S due to follow the infill drilling campaign, and work underway evaluating prospectivity at the Panoro-operated Block EG-01, we have an exciting organic growth opportunity set available to us in Equatorial Guinea,” added Hamilton.

While Panoro holds a 12% interest in Block S, other partners are GEPetrol and Trident Energy, which are delivering the drilling program on behalf of the joint venture partners.