Maurel et Prom increased production to 25,636 boepd in the first quarter of 2019, the company said last week. This is an increase of 8% from the fourth quarter of 2018.
Production in Gabon reached 24,666 bpd, of which 19,733 bpd was net to Maurel, in the first quarter. This was an increase of 18% from the previous quarter.
This resulted in sales of US$91 million, which was down, year on year, from US$115 million. Oil prices were down a little, at US$63.9 per barrel, from US$66.3 in the first quarter of 2018. Maurel’s statement said the disparity in sales figures was driven by a lifting imbalance, with 223,000 barrels of oil produced but not exported during the quarter. This led to a US$14 million reduction in earnings, it said.
Gabonese production increased as a result of development drilling, which is under way, in addition to the stable flow of exports. Maurel began its drilling work in 2018, with nine wells drilled, it said, and three new wells drilled during the first quarter of this year.
Maurel has also begun selling its Gabonese production via its French subsidiary, M&P Trading. A first cargo was lifted by this wholly owned unit on March 31, with 619,950 barrels of Rabi Light leaving the Cap Lopez terminal. For the last 10 years this trading role had been carried out by Total’s trading unit.
The Rabi Light cargo was loaded onto a VLCC, the New Vigorous, and has been sent to Asia.
Maurel’s CEO, Michel Hochard, said the use of its own trading unit would allow the company to “become more autonomous and to create value across the entire chain, from production and transportation to the marketing of our crude”. In the longer run, M&P Trading will handle volumes produced by all of Maurel’s subsidiaries. Pertamina holds a major stake in Maurel and Hochard said it was considering selling some of its output to the Indonesian company “at market conditions”.
The France-based company is also producing gas in Tanzania. Production averaged 73.7 mmcf (2.09 mcm) per day during the quarter, of which 35.4 mmcf (1 mcm) per day was Maurel’s share. Production in the East African state averaged 83.2 mmcf (2.35 mcm) per day during 2018.
The decline in the first quarter was driven by substantial rains in the region, which increased hydropower generation temporarily.
Maurel, in October last year, struck a deal to acquire 20% stakes in Block 3/05 and Block 3/05A, offshore Angola, from a Japanese company. This has yet to close.