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

Vaalco gets Gabon drilling campaign underway

Houston-based Vaalco Energy has spudded the first well in its new 2021/2022 drilling campaign focused on the Etame field, offshore Gabon, hoping to extend the life of the field by finding more hydrocarbons.

Vaalco reported on Monday that it has started its 2021/2022 drilling campaign off Gabon with the Etame 8H-ST well, located on the Etame field. This is the first well to be drilled in this four-well campaign.

George Maxwell, Vaalco’s Chief Executive Officer, remarked: “Enhancing our production, reducing our costs and extending the economic life at Etame has been the driving force for Vaalco’s continued success. This summer we secured a jack-up rig for our 2021/2022 drilling campaign and began drilling our first well, the Etame 8H-ST, this week.”

Under a drilling contract announced by the company in early summer, a jack-up rig provided by Borr Drilling was recently deployed to the Etame platform. As previously reported, the contract is for the drilling of two development wells and two appraisal wellbores with options to drill additional wells.

The name of the rig was not disclosed at the time, however, based on Borr Drilling’s fleet status report from November 2021, the jack-up rig Norve is under contract with Vaalco from December 2021 until April 2022.

“We believe that executing another successful drilling campaign with the goal of adding material production and reserves will significantly improve our size and scale, further enhancing our ability to execute on our accretive future growth initiatives,” added Maxwell.

The rig has now started activities on the Etame 8H-ST development well, which is expected to be completed in January, while production is expected later in the first quarter of 2022. According to Vaalco, the sidetrack of an existing well is targeting existing Gamba hydrocarbons in the Etame field that have not previously been produced by prior wells.

“The objective of the drilling campaign is to increase production by 7,000 to 8,000 barrels of oil per day gross, which would have a material impact on Vaalco’s net production and cash flow given its 63.6 per cent interest in the licence. We are confident we can achieve these objectives given our drilling track record at Etame. We are excited to get our next drilling campaign underway and will continue to provide updates throughout the program,” concluded Maxwell.

Vaalco’s earlier efforts to add more crude oil to its production included two well workovers at the Etame field, which were completed by early November 2021.

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Vaalco, the operator of the Etame Marin field, increased its interest in the field through the acquisition of Sasol’s interest earlier this year. Other partners are Addax Petroleum and PetroEnergy.

When it comes to recent developments on the field, Vaalco revealed in September that the Etame co-venturers had approved the bareboat contract and operating agreement with World Carrier Offshore Services.

Under the terms of this contract, World Carrier Offshore Services will provide and operate the Cap Diamant – a double-hull crude tanker built-in 2001 – as an FSO, which is scheduled to replace the existing FPSO Petroleo Nautipa on the Etame Marin field in September 2022 following the expiration of the FPSO charter.