Picking up seismic signals in Somalia, Nigeria

10 May 2016, Week 18, Issue 638

Spectrum has completed its 2-D seismic shoot offshore south Somalia, with the acquisition of 20,582.75 line km. The work was completed without incident, Spectrum said.

The study comes in addition to the existing 20,000 km of seismic that was shot in 2014, the company said on May 3. The two datasets will allow hydrocarbon prospectivity in the East African country’s offshore to be studied in depth. 

A deal between Spectrum and Somalia’s federal government, based in Mogadishu, was struck in September 2015. 

The seismic company said it had begun processing the data, with interpretation due to begin in the third quarter of this year. Findings will be announced by the Somali federal government. 

Seven geoscientists from the Somali ministry took part in acquiring the data, training on the ship during the seismic shoot. They will go to Egypt to study data processing and geological interpretation at Spectrum’s imaging centre. 

Under the original agreement with Somalia, dating from September 2015, Spectrum said it would acquire 28,000 km of long offset data. The company did not explain why the shortfall has occurred. 

Spectrum intends to market the two data sets it has on Somalia’s offshore in order to raise industry interest in exploration in the country. 

Somali Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Mohamed Mukhtar Ibrahim, speaking in September, said Spectrum’s work would mark the “resumption of the exploration programme of the hydrocarbon reserves of our country, which will be a turning point for the economic development of our nation”.

Spectrum was contracted for the initial shoot by Soma Oil & Gas, a privately backed company that struck an early mover deal with Mogadishu. In December 2015, Soma delivered seismic data from Spectrum to the federal government. 

Soma, at the same time, lodged an application for production-sharing agreements (PSAs) based on its seismic option agreement (SOA). The company said it had identified specific prospects from the 2-D seismic that “merit further exploration”. 

Spectrum is not the only seismic company working in Somalia, though. ION Geophysical struck a deal in September 2015 with the Puntland Petroleum Minerals Agency (PPMA) to shoot 8,000 km of seismic. The campaign covers the entirety of Puntland’s offshore margin, it said. Work was due to begin in the fourth quarter of last year. ION declined requests to comment on progress in Puntland.



In related news, ION on May 3 said it was mobilising OceanGeo to carry out ocean bottom seismic (OBS) work offshore Nigeria. A letter of commitment has been signed with an international oil company, it said, with a contract expected to be finalised within the next few weeks. 

ION’s president and CEO, Brian Hanson, welcomed the resumption of work for the company’s OBS crew. “We will immediately begin mobilising to the project site, expect to begin acquiring data in late June or early July, and to complete full demobilisation by late in the third quarter.”

Hanson went on to say the company’s technology was “well suited for additional opportunities in Nigeria and West Africa, and we continue to pursue active tenders and leads for projects in the area. We remain optimistic about our ability to keep the crew deployed upon completion of this project”.

The decision to cold stack ION’s OBS vessels and crews was taken in the second quarter in order to cut costs. Hanson, in ION’s annual report, said OBS crew had been expected to be back at work during 2015, as there were multiple tenders pending. “As the year progressed and the market worsened, we saw tenders, negotiations and contract awards get pushed back.” 

ION won work from Tanzanian Petroleum Development Corp. (TPDC) in the second half of 2015. The company agreed to acquire 4,058 km of 2-D seismic, gravity and magnetic data over offshore blocks 4/1B and 4/1C in the Rovuma Delta region. Work was planned for the fourth quarter of 2015.