Three indigenous oil and gas exploration firms -- Optimum, Afren and Lekoil -- yesterday announced a significant oil find in Oil Prospecting Lease, OPL 310, offshore Nigeria.
The latest find, which has great potential to yield commercial oil, was made at Ogo-1 well after drilling 10,402 feet. The discovery has the potential to significantly boost Nigeria's oil reserve which currently stands at 37 billion barrels.
Afren Plc said it had drilled a well to a total measured depth of 10,518ft (10,402ft true vertical depth subsea), and had encountered a gross hydrocarbon section of 524ft, with 216ft of net stacked pay.
The firm added that the well was initially targeted to yield 78 million barrels of oil equivalent but based on evidence to date, targeted resources were likely to be significantly in excess of previous estimates.
The company said further evaluation using wireline log analysis was currently underway prior to extending the well to a total measured depth of 11,800ft (11,684ft true vertical depth subsea) to target further high potential zones.
"The Ogo-1 discovery, testing a four-way dipclosed structure in the Turonian, Cenomanian and Albian sandstone reservoirs, confirms the extension of the same Cretaceous sandstones that have yielded other significant discoveries along the West African Transform Margin," the company said in a statement.
It added that: "Following the completion of drilling operations at Ogo-1, the partners intend to drill a planned side-track, Ogo-1 ST, which will test a new play of stratigraphically trapped sediments that pinch-out onto the basement high targeting 124 mmboe of gross P50 prospective resources."
The completion of exploration and eventual commercial production would be beneficial to not only the Federal Government but also other stakeholders, including Optimum, Afren and Lekoil that have different participating and economic interests in the oil block.
Specifically, participating interest in the block is Optimum on 60 per cent, Afren on 22.86 per cent and Lekoil on 17.14 per cent. Economic interest is Optimum on 30 per cent, Afren on 40 per cent and Lekoil on 30 per cent.
The Chief Executive of Afren Plc, Mr. Osman Shahenshah, said the discovery of oil in the Ogo-1 well opened up a new oil basin in an under-explored region and represented a possible extension of the West African Transform Margin.
According to Shahenshah, based on evidence to date, targeted resources are likely to be significantly in excess of previous estimates, with some highpotential zones still to be drilled.
He said: "We look forward to working with our partners to realise the full potential of Ogo and our additional prospects on the license.
"The Ogo-1 exploration success follows a series of recent discoveries, Okoro Field Extension, Ebok North Fault Block and Okwok in Nigeria and Simrit-2 and Simrit-3 on the Ain Sifni Block in the Kurdistan region of Iraq."
Nigeria has not made significant oil and gas reserves in recent times as a result of low investment which is said to be a direct function of outdated legislations in the industry.
For instance, the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, targeted to make the industry more attractive to local and foreign investors, has been with the National Assembly in the last five years.
Consequently, many investors have gone to invest in other countries that offer competitive legislations, incentives and policies.
A top official of Stumberger confirmed at a recent industry conference in Lagos that many nations in the Gulf of Guinea, especially Angola, have attracted a lot of investments in the past few years.
This, according to him, has culminated in the making of commercial oil and gas finds that are capable of boosting reserves and ranking of Angola as a major producer.
The official tasked stakeholders, especially legislators, to make progress in order to complete work on the important bill targeted at restructuring the nation's oil and gas industry as well as attracting more investments to boost reserves as well as production capacity.
However, a Lagosbased lawyer, Mr. Emeka Okwuosa, said the new PIB was a step in the right direction, a watershed reform that would change the landscape of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
Okwuosa said the future was promising because the new PIB would be a good and excellent law, open up investment opportunities, unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for better performance and result, and create a transparent, accountable and corruptfree energy regime.