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Lloyds List: East Area promise sees ExxonMobil boost production

EXTRACT:  These projects and Shell’s Bonga FPSO development that started late 2005, help to offset falling onshore production levels because civil unrest and pipeline leaks have closed down more than 800,000 bpd of production and closed three or four export lines.

THE ARTICLE

US oil company is optimistic over shallow water oil project, writes Martyn Wingrove, Lloyds List

Published: Aug 01, 2006

EXXONMOBIL will be ramping up its Nigerian oil production and exports this year after starting the shallow water East Area oil project.

The oil company is also reducing gas flaring from its offshore Niger Delta fields through the $1.3bn additional oil recovery project.

It hopes to increase ultimate recovery from offshore fields in oil mining licences OML 67 and 70 by injecting associated gas instead of burning it at flare stacks.

The New York-listed group installed a gas compression platform and seven associated platforms including a new crew living quarters on this project and laid 160 km of pipelines for gas gathering and distribution.

ExxonMobil expects an extra 530m barrels of oil reserves to be recovered and to raise production levels to 120,000 barrels per day from the blocks, which are 17 miles off the coast.

The oil major’s subsidiary Mobil Producing Nigeria has 40% of the block interests and state firm Nigerian National Petroleum Corp has the other 60%.

East Area AOR is the third large oil project to be started this year off Nigeria by ExxonMobil, after the Yoho and Erha projects came on line in the first quarter, making the US major the nation’s top producer and exporter.

MPN started full field production from the $1.3bn Yoho project back in February after commissioning a new central processing platform and bridge-linked accommodation platform.

Yoho, which included a new floating storage and offloading vessel, is producing around 160,000 bpd of oil and injecting 110m cu ft of natural gas daily. Ultimately 33 wells will be drilled to recover 440m barrels of oil.

In March, ExxonMobil started the $3.5bn Erha deepwater project, which involves a newbuild floating production storage and offloading vessel.

The US major has the main Erha reservoir in production and expects the Erha North section of the field to come on line before the end of September.

These two project phases in OML 133 involve 32 subsea wells linked to the FPSO and are expected to pump out 190,000 barrels of oil and 300m cu ft of gas daily once at peak rates.

‘Liquids production that our affiliates either operate or participate in offshore Nigeria currently exceeds 1.1m barrels per day,’ said ExxonMobil senior vice-president Stuart McGill.

Nigerian operations represent 40% of his company’s output as it produced on average 2.7m barrels of hydrocarbon liquids in the second quarter.

‘Yoho, Erha and East Area AOR started up on schedule and within facilities budgets. They included contract awards to several Nigerian companies for in-country fabrication services and logistics support,’ said Mr McGill.

Field development activities involving Nigerian contractors included fabrication of a mooring buoy, subsea manifolds, drilling unit pilings and modules for the Erha FPSO, such as flare tower and pipe racks.

These projects and Shell’s Bonga FPSO development that started late 2005, help to offset falling onshore production levels because civil unrest and pipeline leaks have closed down more than 800,000 bpd of production and closed three or four export lines.

– French oil company Total is farming into OML 112 and 117 offshore southeast Nigeria, taking 40% interests after signing a deal with indigenous firm Amni International Petroleum.

Total intends to appraise and develop oil and gas discoveries in the blocks to feed the nearby Bonny liquefied natural gas plant. Appraisal well, Ima 12, on the block has found more gas reserves and is being tested.

Further south, offshore Republic of Congo, Total has discovered oil on the Mobi Marine 2 well, which the Paris-based firm hopes to tie into its Moho Bilondo development by 2008.

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