FirstAfrica announced the completion of the initial development drilling programme in the East Orovinyare Oil Field (“EOV Field”) offshore Gabon. As a result of four development wells drilled with the GlobalSantaFe Adriatic VI jack-up rig, the Company is confident that an initial production rate in excess of 7,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) will be achieved at the start of production, now expected to commence in Q3 2007. The test results also validate the Company’s confidence that further development work will enhance both future production volumes and reserves estimates.
Since its arrival on site on 13 April 2006, the Adriatic VI jack-up rig has drilled the EOV 4, 5, 6 and 7 development wells and several sidetracks during a programme that was extended from an initial 100 days to 151 so as to drill and test deeper levels below the EOV Field. Drill stem testing of the wells saw combined maximum test flow rates of over 10,000 bopd.
EOV-7 was spudded on 11 July 2006 and was deepened 2,000ft (measured depth) below the Batanga main reservoir as hydrocarbon indications persisted at the base of the objective zone. While prolonging the drilling programme, log analysis from this well identified several sandstone units with oil saturations and net sand thicknesses totalling 712 feet (measured depth) with an average porosity of 20%. A drill stem test recovered oil to the surface prior to the occurrence of borehole stability issues preventing further testing. Studies will now follow which will result in targeted appraisal drilling in the future in order to determine potential oil reserves from these deeper levels.
On 14 August, a sidetrack well was initiated from EOV-7 and drilled into the northern sector of the field. This well, EOV7-ST1, encountered the Batanga Sandstone at 3,413 feet measured depth. Wireline logging indicated a gross oil reservoir section of 213 feet (measured depth). Net sands were estimated at 124 feet (measured depth) with average porosities of 22% and permeabilities of 10-400 millidarcies. During drill stem testing the well flowed oil at a rate of 610 barrels of oil per day (bopd) with a maximum instantaneous flow of 810 bopd. The gravity of the oil was measured at 38 degrees API, the H2S content was 6,000 ppm, and the water content zero.
The Company further reports excellent progress on the fabrication of the facilities infrastructure for the field, with the platform now 80% complete. In order to allow a complete analysis of the extensive technical data that has been gathered during the drilling programme and enable the optimisation of the development plan for the field, FirstAfrica has re-set the date for commencement of production as Q3 2007.
Commenting on the drilling programme, FirstAfrica CEO Robert Kirchner said, “We are delighted that we are now able to give the market concrete details of our progress in the EOV Field. The drilling results validate our strategy of concentrating on bringing EOV into early production, with its cashflows funding the Company’s further expansion and development. Whilst initial flow test results of EOV-7 have not yet matched that of the previous wells, we are satisfied with the overall results from the drilling programme and greatly encouraged to have found several new potential oil bearing zones in the deeper horizons. While these deeper horizons are likely to enhance reserves, of more immediate impact on production volumes is the information gained from this drilling programme that has allowed us to identify the ‘sweet’ spots for additional production wells in the Batanga reservoir. As well, the data has confirmed our ability to complete and produce from the two wells in the field that were previously drilled and suspended by the previous operator.”