Vaalco’s new Etame development well starts producing at higher than expected rate

Houston-based Vaalco Energy has completed drilling a development well at the Etame field offshore Gabon. Vaalco has placed the well on production at higher than anticipated rate and started drilling another development well on the field. 

Topaz Driller jack-up rig
Topaz Driller jack-up rig; Source: Vantage

Vaalco started its 2019/2020 drilling campaign and spud the Etame 9P appraisal wellbore at the Etame field, using the Vantage-owned Topaz Driller jack-up rig, in mid-September 2019. The plan is to drill three development wells and two appraisal wellbores in the 2019/2020 drilling program.

The first well in the campaign, the Etame 9P appraisal wellbore, was targeting the subcropping Dentale reservoir beneath the Etame field. By mid-October, the well was successfully drilled to a total depth of 10,260 feet and encountered both Gamba and Dentale oil sands.

The appraisal well was then plugged back to a shallower depth and operations to drill the Etame 9H horizontal development well section in the Gamba reservoir started.

In an update on Tuesday, Vaalco said it had successfully completed the Etame 9H development well, including approximately 1,000 feet of horizontal section in Gamba reservoir. The well was brought onto production at a stabilized flow rate of 5,500 gross barrels of oil per day (BOPD), 1,500 net BOPD to Vaalco, with no H2S.

According to the company, production is higher than the  pre-drill estimate of 2,500 to 3,500 BOPD gross, 675 to 960 net to Vaalco, due to high reservoir quality.

The company increased its forecasted 2019 net exit production rate to 4,500 to 4,700 BOPD, up 16% from its prior estimate of 3,800 to 4,100 BOPD.

Following the completion of the Etame 9H well, Vaalco has started drilling of the Etame 11H horizontal development well with production expected to come online in late January.

Cary Bounds, Chief Executive Officer, commented, “The very strong stabilized net rate of 1,500 BOPD from the Etame 9H well is a significant first step toward increasing overall production by approximately 25% in 2020 compared to 2019. With the Etame 9H well online, we expect our 2019 net exit production rate to average 4,500 to 4,700 BOPD, 16% higher than our previous estimate of 3,800 to 4,100 BOPD net to Vaalco.

“We are in the midst of drilling the Etame 11H development well which will likely be followed by a workover on the Etame 10H well to replace the ESP. The Etame 10H workover, if undertaken, could restore additional production of 735 gross BOPD, or 200 BOPD net to Vaalco. We then plan to move the rig to the SEENT platform to drill the SE Etame 4P appraisal well, which could confirm additional development well locations in the Gamba reservoir.”


Etame 9H rate higher than expected


Vaalco reached total depth of approximately 8,900 feet in the Etame 9H development well and drilled and completed approximately 1,000 feet of the horizontal section within the Gamba reservoir. The horizontal section is at the top of the Gamba structure where the high-quality reservoir is approximately 45 feet thick.

After installing production equipment, the well was brought online at a stabilized rate of 5,500 BOPD gross, (1,500 BOPD net to Vaalco), with no H2S which compares to the previously disclosed pre-drill expected stabilized initial production rate of 2,500 to 3,500 gross BOPD (675 to 960 BOPD net to Vaalco).

By year-end 2019, Vaalco expects to convert approximately 6.2 million barrels of gross undeveloped 2P oil reserves to developed 2P oil reserves. The Etame 9H development well was drilled and completed as planned, with no safety or environmental incidents.


Another development well 


Shortly after completion of the Etame 9H development well, the company began drilling the Etame 11H horizontal development well from the Etame platform, targeting the same Gamba reservoir at a different location in the Etame field. If successful, the Etame 11H well is expected to result in additional production of 2,500 to 3,500 gross BOPD (675 to 960 BOPD net to Vaalco) coming online in late January 2020.

After completing the Etame 11H well, Vaalco plans to execute a workover to replace the electric submersible pump (ESP) in the Etame 10H well on the same platform. The company then plans to move the rig to the Southeast Etame/North Tchibala platform to drill the SE Etame 4P appraisal wellbore to evaluate a Gamba step out area in Southeast Etame.

Upon drilling this second appraisal wellbore, the drilling commitment as part of the PSC extension that Vaalco signed last year will be complete. If the SE Etame 4P appraisal wellbore indicates the presence of hydrocarbons in the Gamba reservoir then Vaalco, subject to approvals from joint interest owners and governmental authorities, plans to drill a third development well as part of the 2019/2020 drilling campaign.

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