Vaalco sees more well trouble off Gabon

Vaalco Energy has been forced to temporarily shut in a well at its Avouma platform offshore Gabon due to a recurring issue with an electrical submersible pump. 

The company previously reported in late July that the primary electrical submersible pump (ESP) failed in the Avouma 2-H well on the Avouma platform offshore Gabon in the Etame Marin Permit.

Prior to attempting to start the secondary ESP, Vaalco and the original equipment manufacturer which installed the ESP worked closely to re-design the start-up procedure and adjust the operating conditions in an effort to prevent another ESP failure.

The lower pump was started in August and remained operational for approximately 10 days.

At the time of the secondary ESP failure, the well was producing approximately 1,850 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) gross or 450 BOPD net to the company. Vaalco has attempted to restart the lower ESP without success and the well is temporarily shut-in pending a workover, the company said on Thursday.

Vaalco also said it is in the process of mobilizing a hydraulic workover unit to the Avouma platform to recover failed ESPs in the Avouma 2-H well and the South Tchibala 2-H well. Both wells produce from the Avouma platform and both wells have recently experienced failed ESPs.

After removing the ESPs, Vaalco plans to immediately install a replacement ESP in the Avouma 2-H well and anticipates restoring production from the well by mid fourth quarter of this year. The failed ESPs will be sent to the manufacturer’s facilities for a root cause investigation to determine the failure mechanism.

Vaalco stated that, once the cause of the ESP failures is understood, appropriately modified ESP systems will be installed in the South Tchibala 2-H well and, if necessary, the Avouma 2-H well.

The company further commented that its Gabon operations have thus far not been impacted in any way by recent activities in the country associated with the presidential election last month. The results of the election are being reviewed by the authorities in Gabon as required in their constitutional process. An announcement of the final result is expected later in September. Vaalco continues to follow its election period protocol until the results are finalized, the company concluded.