VAALCO Energy, Inc. announced that oil production has commenced from the Company’s new development well in the Ebouri field. The well was drilled from one of the three well slots on the Ebouri platform. The platform was installed in a water depth of 250 feet.
As previously announced, VAALCO commenced drilling this development well in November 2008 with the jack-up rig Adriatic 6. The first pilot hole was drilled to the south of the original Ebouri discovery and a second pilot hole was drilled to the northwest of the original discovery. Both of these pilot holes were successful in delineating additional Gamba sandstone reservoir above the oil water contact, thereby increasing the acreage and reserves of the Ebouri field. The development well was completed horizontally on the same orientation as the second pilot hole. VAALCO has a 28.1% working interest in the Etame license area.
“I am pleased to begin 2009 with the success of both our development well and appraisal well in the Ebouri field,” said Robert Gerry, Chairman and CEO of VAALCO. “Our drilling program continues at a strong pace and with results that have exceeded our expectations. These results combined with VAALCO’s solid capital position give us confidence in our ability to continue growing reserves and shareholder value.”
New North Ebouri Development Well
VAALCO also announced that it has commenced drilling a second horizontal development well following successful results from the North Ebouri appraisal well and recently completed sidetrack. The sidetrack well penetrated 65 feet of oil-filled Gamba sandstone, the thickest encountered to date in the Etame license area, proving-up significant additional reserves north of the originally mapped field development outline. The development well is being drilled in close proximity to the sidetrack. Completion and first oil production from this well are expected in March 2009.
With the new Ebouri and North Ebouri development wells, the Company expects total production from the Etame block to be approximately 25,000 bopd, which would maximize the current throughput oil capacity of the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility serving the Etame and Avouma / Tchibala fields.
With the completion of the North Ebouri appraisal well and sidetrack, the Pride Cabinda jack-up rig has been moved 4.4 miles to the southeast and has commenced drilling the North Etame exploration well, which will be followed by a second exploration well in Southeast Etame.
Additional Planned Wells
Additional wells planned over the coming months include:
• Two exploratory wells onshore Gabon in the Mutamba concession: VAALCO is currently mobilizing and rigging-up the Nabors 864 rig at the first of the two planned drilling locations and expects to commence drilling the first exploratory well in early February 2009. Combined potential reserves for these two wells are expected to be in excess of 30 million barrels. VAALCO has a 100% working interest in the onshore Mutamba block.
• One exploratory well in Angola: The Company expects to drill a well on Angola Block 5 in late-2009 depending upon consortium agreement on the well objective and rig availability. The Company has recommended to the consortium a prospect with three objective zones, both above and below the salt layer on the block. Total potential from all three objectives is 150 million gross barrels. VAALCO has a 40% working interest in Block 5.
• Interest in North Sea: VAALCO has a 25% interest in a gas prospect on Block 48/25c in the British North Sea. The Company is participating with Century Exploration on the well, which is an offset to a former Shell gas discovery made in 1987. 3-D seismic data indicates the ability to get higher on the structure than the earlier well, increasing the potential reserves to 60 Bcf. VAALCO expects that drilling will begin in February 2009.