Hercules rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Wheels in motion to gauge commerciality of recent oil discoveries offshore Namibia

Portuguese oil and gas company Galp is in the process of evaluating the commerciality of oil discoveries, which were made in the heart of Namibia’s Orange Basin within license PEL 83 off the coast of Namibia, situated close to recent discoveries made by Shell and TotalEnergies. 

Hercules rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Galp embarked on a quest to drill a well in license PEL 83 following a 115-day contract with SFL Corporation for the Odfjell Drilling-managed Hercules sixth-generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible rig. Come November 2023, the Portuguese player spudded the Mopane-1X prospect, which was the first of two wells planned to be drilled with the rig.

On the heels of its announcement about the Mopane-1X well showing preliminary signs of hydrocarbon presence, the company confirmed a significant discovery of light oil in reservoir-bearing sands of high quality at two different levels: AVO-1 and AVO-2. The 2008-built Hercules rig then moved to the Mopane-2X well location to evaluate the extent of the Mopane discoveries.

Afterward, the Mopane-2X well encountered a significant column with light oil in high-quality reservoir sands across exploration and appraisal targets: AVO-3, AVO-1, and a deeper target. The well found AVO-1 to be in the same pressure regime as in the Mopane-1X discovery well, around 8 km to the east, confirming its lateral extension.

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With the conclusion of the Mopane-1X well testing operations, Galp (80%, operator), together with its partners NAMCOR and Custos (10% each), completed the first phase of the Mopane exploration campaign. Sintana maintains an indirect 49% interest in Custos Energy. According to Galp, the reservoir log measures confirm good porosities, high pressures, and high permeabilities in large hydrocarbon columns.

Knowledge Katti, Chairman and CEO of Custos, commented: “The successful culmination of the exploration campaign at Mopane, including a well test reaching the maximum allowable limit, further demonstrates the scope and potential of PEL 83 with Mopane alone containing potential in excess of 10 billion barrels of original oil in place making it one of the largest discoveries globally.”

Furthermore, the data shows that fluid samples present very low oil viscosity and contain minimum CO2 and no H2S concentrations. As the flows achieved during the well test have reached the maximum allowed limits of 14 kboepd, the Portuguese firm believes this shows Mopane’s potential “as an important commercial discovery.”

“All acquired data from the current Mopane drilling campaign will be analysed and integrated into an updated reservoir model. The model will serve as the basis to refine Galp’s near-term drilling plan to further explore, appraise and develop the wider Mopane complex,” explained the firm while confirming that it would continue to analyze the acquired data during the coming weeks to assess the commerciality of the discoveries.

Before the drilling of additional exploration and appraisal wells, the company highlights that hydrocarbon in-place estimates for the Mopane complex alone are 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or higher. The PEL 83 license is located immediately north of Shell’s PEL 39 where the basin opening discoveries at Graff-1, La Rona-1 and Jonker-1 were drilled, and close to TotalEnergies’ multi-billion-barrel Venus-1 oil discovery on PEL 56.

Robert Bose, CEO and Board Member of Sintana, remarked: “The results of the initial exploration campaign on PEL 83 are a true milestone for all stakeholders including the people of Namibia, our local partners and Sintana. We are thrilled to be a part of this world class discovery and want to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for the efforts and tenacity of the joint venture partners, including Custos.

“The timeliness of our entry and the unmatched nature of our portfolio continue to be demonstrated as the Orange Basin emerges as the world’s next great hydrocarbon province.”