With oil reserves of 129.1 billion barrels, Africa holds 7.6% of the world’s proven reserves. More specifically, the West Coast of Africa is home to the continent’s two largest producing countries, Nigeria and Angola, while Equatorial Guinea, the Congo and Gabon have proven oil reserves not dissimilar to those found in the United Kingdom.
While the West Coast of Africa has been on the radar of many well intervention contractors for a while, it is fair to say that work over and P&A activity has recently been ramping up all the way from Mauritania to Angola. A multitude of factors can be linked to this increase in well work projects, including:
- Regulatory Imperatives: As West African nations develop their oil & gas regimes, more scrutiny is being applied to operators to ensure they truly maximise the value of their assets during production and make sure that both financial and operational plans are put in place for safe P&A and decommissioning activities.
- Oil Price: As in other parts of the world, the current oil price has led to a decrease in drilling activity and is forcing operators to look at their existing well stock for ways of increasing production and maximising ROI.
- Technology: While investment is still being pumped into exploration projects throughout the region (BP announced a US$1bn partnership with Kosmos in Mauritania and Senegal; and eight of the top 20 discoveries in 2015 were in Africa), regional and international operators are looking at innovative technologies that will lower the cost of well intervention and increase the efficiency of operations for existing fields.