Noble Venturer drillship; Source: Trident Energy

UK firm’s drilling ops to resume shortly as Noble drillship comes to African port

Since a drillship owned by the U.S.-headquartered Noble Corporation is now on the west coast of Central Africa, the UK-based Trident Energy is gearing up to end the imposed hiatus and restart its infill drilling campaign on Block G offshore Equatorial Guinea, which was put on ice after the rig contract with Norway’s Island Drilling was terminated.

Noble Venturer drillship; Source: Trident Energy

The operator of Block G sealed a deal with Noble Corporation in April 2024 to recommence its drilling campaign offshore Equatorial Guinea with the Noble Venturer drillship. The infill drilling program was put on hold after the UK firm broke off the contract for the Island Innovator rig, citing safety concerns.

Trident Energy (40.375%) is the operator of Block G while its partners are Kosmos Energy (40.375%), Panoro Energy (14.25%), and GEPetrol (5%). The Noble Venturer drillship has now arrived at Luba port, Bioko Island, thus, it is expected to restart infill drilling at the Ceiba and Okume Complex fields shortly in shallow and deep waters of the Rio Muni basin. 

François Raux, COO at Trident Energy ML, commented: “The arrival of the drillship is a milestone that demonstrates our ability to restart the drilling program very quickly. It affirms our commitment to unlock the potential of these fields and unleash further growth in Equatorial Guinea – safely, efficiently and responsibly. This will be a busy and exciting period for the company and look forward to getting underway.”

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The rig’s drilling campaign will comprise two infill wells in water depths of 250 and 740 meters, due to limitations arising from the shallower water depth at one of the planned infill well locations. The third infill well will be deferred as part of a potential future drilling campaign.  

Once its work at the two Block G infill wells is over, the Noble Venturer drillship will move to Block S to drill the Kosmos Energy-operated Akeng Deep infrastructure-led exploration (ILX) well, which is targeting an estimated gross mean resource of around 180 million barrels of oil. The well is intended to test a play in the Albian. Panoro holds a 12% interest in Kosmos’ Block S and other partners are GEPetrol and Trident Energy.

John Hamilton, CEO of Panoro, remarked: “We are pleased to receive the high specification Noble Venturer drillship in country and look forward to recommencing the infill drilling campaign at Block G which will be followed by the high impact Akeng Deep infrastructure led exploration well which, if successful, can open a new play fairway with a potentially very positive read across to the adjacent Block EG-01 which Panoro operates.”

Constructed at Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) in Korea, the Noble Venturer drillship can operate in water depths of 12,000 ft and its maximum drilling depth is 40,000 ft. This rig can accommodate 230 people. Noble Corporation has taken steps to enlarge its fleet to 41 rigs, encompassing 28 floaters and 13 jack-ups, by pursuing a merger with Diamond Offshore.

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This merger is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2025.