Gabon launches new offshore drillings to increase oil production

US hydrocarbon exploration firm, Vaalco Energy, will start an offshore drilling campaign next month as Gabon works to increase its crude oil production by 50 percent by 2020/2021.

The start of the drilling campaign follows a successful full-field maintenance shut down at four of Vaalco’s platforms in the Central African nation

The five-well drilling campaign will begin with the Etame 9P appraisal well and follow with the 9H development well from the Etame platform.

“Our current plans are to drill up to three development wells and two appraisal wellbores funded from cash on hand and cash generated from operations,” said Chief Executive Cary Bounds.

Vaalco estimates a net drilling budget of $20 million to $25 million this year and $5 million to $10 million in 2020.

Oil remains the lifeblood of Gabon’s economy, representing half of state revenues and around 80% of its export earnings. The country benefits from relatively light, sweet crude from accessible onshore deposits, and has potential in deep offshore blocks.

The government is seeking to stabilize oil production at around 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the short term – 20,000 bpd more than current levels – and to double it by 2025.

The country’s three main hydrocarbons producers are Total Gabon, Shell Gabon and Perenco Gabon.

Besides Vaalco, numerous other foreign operators hold interests in producing fields in Gabon, including UK-based Tullow Oil, France’s Maurel & Prom, and China’s Addax Petroleum.

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