ExxonMobil has proved up a find offshore Nigeria of between 500 million and1 billion barrels of oil, based on the Owowo-2 and -3 wells, the US super-major said in a statement shortly before its third-quarter results. The statement, on October 27, came shortly after further details came to light on its Liza discovery, in South America’s Guyana.
The Owowo-3 well was spudded on September 23 and found 140 metres of oil-bearing sandstone. This extended the resource from the Owowo-2 well, which found around 157 metres of similar reservoir.
“We are encouraged by the results and will work with our partners and the government on future development plans,” said ExxonMobil Exploration’s president, Stephen Greenlee.
The well reached a depth of 3,173 metres and was drilled in relatively shallow water, at 576 metres. The Owowo field straddles the boundary between Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 223 and Oil Mining Licence (OML) 139.
ExxonMobil is the operator of both licences, with a 27% stake. Joint venture partners include Chevron Nigeria Deepwater G, with 27%, Total E&P Nigeria with 18%, Nexen Petroleum Deepwater Nigeria with 18% and Nigeria Petroleum Development Co. (NPDC) with 10%.
The Owowo West field was added to ExxonMobil’s planned project queue in its operating review, released in April of this year. At that point, the super-major projected production from the development would begin at some point after 2018, with 180,000 bpd of liquids and 3.68 mcm per day of gas.
The Owowo field appears to be slightly smaller than the Liza discovery, in Guyana, but in only 576 metres – as opposed to 1,750 metres – of water it is likely to be cheaper to develop. Even so, the US company appears in no rush to approve the Nigerian development.
ExxonMobil’s continued exploration comes in some contrast to other companies, which have cut their spending in the face of concerns over dividends and oil prices. The US super-major is expected to spud a well in Liberia, the Mesurado-1, in November. The Liberian well has been estimated as holding a potential resource of around 400 million barrels, with a suggestion that it may be similar to the Liza find.