Vaalco finds more hydrocarbon reserves in Gabon after drilling its third well

As it completes the drilling of another well offshore Gabon, Houston-based Vaalco Energy is anticipating a boost to its reserves and production after its third well in 2022 goes online later this month.


In a bid to execute its new four-well 2021/2022 drilling campaign focused on the Etame field, Vaalco hired in June 2021 a jack-up rig provided by Borr Drilling. The drilling contractor’s fleet status report from May 2022 shows that the jack-up rig Norve is currently under contract with Vaalco from December 2021 until August 2022.

Back in December 2021, Vaalco carried out the spudding of the first of these four wells and brought it into production in February 2022 with strong initial flow rates. In April 2022, Vaalco confirmed the successful drilling of the Avouma 3H-ST development well and brought it on stream.

At the time, the U.S. company also revealed that drilling operations were underway on the third well in the drilling programme – the ETBSM 1HB-ST development well. 

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In an update on Thursday, Vaalco informed about the successful drilling of the South Tchibala 1HB-ST well that was drilled from the Avouma platform in the Etame field, offshore Gabon.

The company has discovered significant columns of multiple hydrocarbon-bearing sands in the Dentale during the drilling, completing the Dentale D1 sand -18 meters net hydrocarbons – interval, which is analogous to the Deep Dentale producing field in North Tchibala with similar porosity and permeability.

George Maxwell, Vaalco’s Chief Executive Officer, remarked: “With the drilling of the South Tchibala 1HB-ST well and completion in the Deep Dentale interval, Vaalco will add new reserves and production that were not previously in our 2P reserve base. Additionally, there is the D9 sand that will remain cased as we produce out of the D1 that could be tested or completed in the future.”

According to Vaalco, additional cased Dentale D9 –  meters net hydrocarbons – interval can be tested and completed in the future. The firm explains that it also penetrated a thin section of the Gamba sand that is not economically viable to complete in this wellbore.

Vaalco says that this well adds new reserves that were previously not captured in its 2P reserves, elaborating that upon successful completion and first production, these reserves will be additive to its 1P reserves.

In addition, the U.S. player believes that the results of this well potentially add new future drilling locations in the Deep Dentale trend across the Etame block. Since the firm is currently completing the South Tchibala 1HB-ST well, initial production is expected in June.

“This discovery is analogous to our producing Dentale in North Tchibala. The continued success of our drilling campaign further demonstrates the quality of our premier Etame asset. We expect the well to be online in June and will provide the market with an update when we have initial production data,” added Maxwell.

As the operator of the Etame Marin field offshore Gabon, Vaalco holds 58.8 per cent working interest and 63.6 per cent participating interest. The company’s partners in the development of this field, which has produced over 126 million barrels of crude oil so far, are Addax Petroleum and PetroEnergy.

Meanwhile, Vaalco is also setting the wheels into motion to complete the Etame Marin field reconfiguration. To this end, the company is working on replacing the existing FPSO with an FSO unit.

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As previously reported, the FSO deployment is scheduled for the third quarter of 2022 and Vaalco picked DOF Subsea in March 2022 to support its activities in replacing the existing FPSO unit.