A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Frontier Oil targets 20m man-hours without injury operations

15 September 2015, Lagos – The Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Oil Limited, operator of Uquo Marginal Gas Field, Mr. Dada Thomas, has stated that his company targets to achieve 20 million man-hours Lost Time without Injury (LTI) in its operations.

Nigeria's marginal oil fields.
Nigeria’s marginal oil fields.

Speaking on the company’s recent attainment of 10 million man-hours of LTI after operating successfully for over 4,000 days since December 2006, Thomas told THISDAY in a recent interview that the company had not witnessed any loss of life, maiming or any accident that disrupted operations.

“I am very proud to announce that yesterday; we achieved 10 million man-hours lost time injury free operation (LTI). We started in Eket in December 2006, which is over 4,000 days and we achieved 10 million man-hours. We haven’t killed anybody; we have not maimed anybody; we have had no accident that resulted in work being stopped. That is a remarkable achievement we are very proud of as an indigenous company and a marginal field company. We really thank God that all the efforts that we have made trying to manage Health Safety and Environment (HSE) in the business has paid off and I have told my staff: Thank you. Excellent; but let’s now focus on 20 million man-hours. Don’t just be complacent now because in the next second, something can happen and the only way we could achieve 20 million man-hours is if we continue to proactively manage HSE in the business,” Thomas explained

Thomas said he had no regret that the Uquo Marginal Field, which his company won as Marginal Oil Field in the 2003 bid round of the Federal Government eventually turned out to be a Marginal Gas Field.

He further stated that the problem of his company was initially compounded by the poor data it inherited from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Shell, the original owner of the marginal asset.

“So, we had to do a 3-Dimensiional seismic campaign. We were the indigenous company in the class of 2003 that did the largest 3-D campaign. Not many indigenous companies have gone from exploration to production as Frontier. So, we did the campaign and that meant that we actually spent money to acquire real data”.

“Once you have the data, you can make informed decisions. With that data, we actually found that this field had a lot more going for it than we thought but it was still primarily a gas field.  But at least, we knew we had reasonable gas to try and sell. We inherited four wells originally from Shell but they were very old. One of them was drilled in 1958. So we are talking about a well that was already 50 years old when we inherited it then. You can never tell the condition of what has been in the ground for 50 years. We made the decision to first of all drill new wells and after that we went back to assess one or two other wells. So, of the four wells we inherited from Shell, three are in production today because we took our time to study them properly to make sure that we manage the risk of re-entering 40-50 year old wells,” Thomas further explained.

Thomas, whose company is also the operator of Uquo Central Processing Facility (CPF) that supplies gas to power plants and industries, further stated that his company is the only and first company to take a green-field, non-associated gas project from ground zero to production, adding that other indigenous operators inherited their gas projects as part of the assets acquired from the international oil companies (IOCs).

“That plant you are looking at came out of my thought. If you had gone to that site five, six years ago, all you would have seen was a forest. Other people have inherited or bought gas plant from the divestment; we created that from ground zero. For us to have leverage on that expertise and that track record by looking for additional gas fields because the economics of the rich gas project is quite far better than the economics of a lean gas project,” he added.

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