Photo: Cap Diamant; Source: Euronav

Vaalco books DOF Subsea for Gabon job

With floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel deployment still within budget and on track, Houston-based Vaalco Energy has inked a deal with DOF Subsea to support it in replacing an existing FPSO unit at a field offshore Gabon.

Vaalco informed on Thursday that it has signed a contract with DOF Subsea to perform subsea construction and installation services to support the subsea reconfiguration associated with the replacement of the existing FPSO with an FSO unit at the Etame field, offshore Gabon.

To remind, as per the terms of the agreement – approved by the Etame joint owners – signed with World Carrier Offshore Services, the existing BW Offshore-owned FPSO Petroleo Nautipa, which has been operating on the Etame Marin field for Vaalco since 2002, will be replaced by the Cap Diamant. The 2001-built double-hull crude tanker will be converted into an FSO before being deployed off Gabon and will be operated by World Carrier.

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As previously reported, the tanker arrived at a shipyard in Bahrain on schedule in late February 2022 to undergo the final modifications and certifications with sea trials expected to begin in late June before it is mobilized to Gabon.

Vaalco has been ticking off the required boxes to set everything into motion, so that, this can be completed on time ever since a binding letter of intent (LOI) was signed in August 2021. The firm’s latest deal with DOF Subsea is another box that needs to be ticked off to successfully bring this project to life.

George Maxwell, Vaalco’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We continue to progress forward with our field reconfiguration and FSO conversion at Etame, on time and within the capital guidance we previously provided. The FSO increases effective storage capacity by over 50 per cent and reduces costs by almost 50 per cent compared to the current FPSO.

Cap Diamant; Source: Euronav
Cap Diamant; Source: Euronav

“We continue to estimate total capital conversion costs of $40 to $50 million gross ($26 to $32 million net to Vaalco), with annual projected operational cost savings of approximately $20 to $25 million gross per year ($13 to $16 million net to Vaalco) through 2030, giving the project a very attractive payback period of less than two and a half years.”

The marine and subsea services provider’s scope of work covers the provision of all personnel, crew and equipment necessary to assist with reconfiguring the Etame field subsea infrastructure to flow field production to the replacement FSO.

Furthermore, Vaalco confirmed that the engineering and design work in relation to the field infrastructure upgrade has been completed, while the subsea work is planned to start in July. The work is expected to be carried out and completed before the FSO is operational in September 2022.

To carry out the required operations, DOF Subsea will utilise an offshore construction vessel to perform the work. The Norwegian player is expected to transport over 5,000 meters of new flexible pipelines from the UK to install them in the Etame field. In addition, DOF Subsea will perform the retrieval and relocation of existing in-field flowlines and umbilicals and assist in the connection of new risers to the FSO.

In a separate statement on Thursday, DOF said it will use its Skandi Constructor vessel, which was upgraded in 2021 with a 250-ton AHC crane and outfitted with 2 new XLXc ROV system. The vessel is currently working in Trinidad under multiple contracts managed by DOF Subsea USA performing commissioning and IMR tasks before returning to the North Sea for other commitments in 2Q.

Skandi Constructor; Source: DOF

The Etame Marin field is operated by Vaalco with 58.8 per cent working interest and 63.6 per cent participating interest. Other partners are Addax Petroleum and PetroEnergy.

“We are delivering on our strategic plan with the FSO conversion, our drilling campaign at Etame and continued evaluation of organic and inorganic opportunities,” added Maxwell.

When it comes to Vaalco’s 2021/2022 drilling campaign offshore Gabon, it is worth noting that, following the spudding of the first of four wells on the Etame field in December 2021, the company brought the well into production with strong initial flow rates in February 2022.