Photo: Norve jack-up rig; Source: Borr Drilling

Jack-up rig kicks off drilling campaign off Gabon

Oslo-listed oil and gas E&P company BW Energy has spudded the first well in its multi-well drilling campaign offshore Gabon with a Borr Drilling-owned jack-up rig. This development project is still on track for the first oil in late 1Q 2023.

Located approximately 20 kilometres northwest of the Tortue field, BW Energy’s Hibiscus/Ruche development project off Gabon targets the Hibiscus and Ruche fields. Initially, this project entails the drilling of up to six horizontal production wells in a 12-well phased programme, which will be connected to a production facility. According to the company, four of these six wells will target the Hibiscus field while the remaining two will target the Ruche field.

Back in November 2020, BW Energy bought two sister jack-up rigs – Atla and Balder – from Borr Drilling to reduce investments for the Hibiscus/Ruche development along with the timeline for the first oil from this project. The UAE-based Lamprell was awarded a deal for the conversion of the jack-up rig Hibiscus Alpha (ex-Atla) to an offshore installation, a few months after Zentech was given a shipyard construction specification preparation contract in March 2021.

Furthermore, BW Energy confirmed the sail away of the BW MaBoMo – former Hibiscus Alpha jack-up drilling rig, which was repurposed into an offshore production facility with 12 well slots – from Lamprell’s yard in August 2022. This vessel was expected to arrive on the field within the Dussafu license offshore Gabon at the end of September for installation and hook-up.

Moreover, the timeline for the first oil from the Hibiscus/Ruche development was bumped to the end of the first quarter of 2023, rather than the previously anticipated date in late 2022, due to a potential change in the schedule of Borr Drilling’s Norve jack-up rig, which the firm hired for its drilling programme.

Following its arrival in Gabon in late September, the BW MaBoMo offshore production facility was installed, as confirmed by BW Energy in November 2022. In addition, preparations were underway for future drilling operations and the tie-in of the export pipeline to the FPSO BW Adolo and the BW MaBoMo.

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In an update on Monday, BW Energy announced the start of drilling of the first production well on the Hibiscus/Ruche Phase 1 development in the Dussafu Block, offshore Gabon. After Borr’s Norve jack-up rig arrived on location in late December 2022, it started preparations for the drilling campaign. The firm highlighted that these drilling operations started on schedule in the first week of January and in line with the target of producing the first oil in March 2023.

The first production well, DHIBM-3H, which targets the Gamba sandstone reservoir on the Hibiscus field, is expected to take just over two months to drill and complete. Based on BW Energy’s statement, the installation of flexible pipelines and risers, completing the 20-kilometre connection between the BW MaBoMo production facility and the FPSO BW Adolo, was also finalised last week.

Carl Krogh Arnet, CEO of BW Energy, remarked: “We are on track for first oil towards the end of the first quarter. This will be the first step of many on a path for successive production growth as we complete the drilling Hibiscus/Ruche Phase 1 programme and asset upgrades through 2023 and into early 2024.”

This initial Hibiscus/Ruche Phase 1 drilling campaign is expected to add approximately 30,000 barrels per day of total oil production when all wells are completed in early 2024. Additionally, BW Energy outlined that the new gas lift compressor to support production for the six existing Tortue wells was lifted onboard the BW Adolo in December.

While installation work is currently ongoing, commissioning and start-up of the compressor is expected to start immediately after the first oil from Hibiscus/Ruche, which has “priority during the current high-activity period onboard the FPSO,” underlined the firm.

BW Energy’s main operated assets are 73.5 per cent of the producing Dussafu Marine permit offshore Gabon and a 95 per cent interest in the Maromba field in Brazil. Total net 2P+2C reserves were 240 million barrels at the start of 2022.

In a separate statement, Panoro Energy, which holds a 17.5 per cent working interest in the Dusafu Marine permit, confirmed the beginning of production drilling at the Hibiscus/Ruche Phase I development.

John Hamilton, CEO of Panoro, commented: “With the production facilities and flowlines successfully installed, commencement of the Hibiscus/Ruche Phase I production drilling programme in early January together with the imminent commissioning of the new gas lift compressor at the producing Tortue field keeps us on track to achieve our targeted 2023 peak rate of 12,500 barrels oil per day during the course of the year.”