BG, Ophir primed for fresh East Africa probes

Five-in-a-Row-for-BG-Group-Offshore-Tanzania09 May 2013, News Wires – BG Group and Ophir Energy have extended a contract for drillship Deepsea Metro I under their rig-sharing arrangement as the partners line up back-to-back wells for a busy exploration and appraisal campaign off Tanzania and Kenya.

The pair have decided to prolong the charter of Odfjell Drilling’s ultra-deepwater unit, due to expire in June, by 18 months to November 2014 and, according to Odfjell’s fleet status report, apparently have an option to extend it further to mid-2016.

Although no value was disclosed for the extension, the drillship was originally chartered on an initial one-year contract worth $175 million from December 2011, giving a dayrate at that time of around $480,000 – almost certainly a discount to current high levels for such in-demand units.

The Ophir-BG joint venture is currently using the vessel to drill the Ngisi-1 exploration well in Block 4 off Tanzania that Ophir estimates could boost in-place resources at the Chewa-Pweza-Ngisi hub to 5.8 trillion cubic feet, or a mean recoverable figure of 4.1 Tcf.

It would also “provide critical scale for gas aggregation and development” at the block that is likely to be tied into a combined liquefied natural gas project for blocks 1 to 3 in southern Tanzania, also including Statoil’s discoveries in Block 2.

UK-based BG Group has discovered between 13.5 and 21 Tcf of gas in place in blocks 1, 3 and 4 off Tanzania, but partner Ophir believes there is resource upside of about 75 Tcf.

Statoil meanwhile has lifted recoverable volumes in its operated Block 2 to between 10 and 13 Tcf following its latest Tangawizi find earlier this year and its exploration chief Tim Dodson was recently reported as saying a joint LNG project would be based on at least 20 Tcf of producible volumes.

Ophir said the joint venture is now likely to drill a satellite exploration well close to the Jodari discovery in Block 1, followed by an appraisal and drillstem test in Block 4.

A further outboard exploration well would be drilled in Block 1 to test basin floor prospectivity by early September, with targets currently being evaluated, it said.

Ophir will then use the drillship to drill a probe targeting the Mlinzi feature in Block 7 off Tanzania in November.

The co-venturers have also lined up wells in Kenya’s largely underexplored offshore play but are remaining tight-lipped on drilling targets.

About the Author