Offshore exploration: the future of Guinea Bissau's energy sector

Par ediallo - 28 July, 2021 - 08:38

Guinea-Bissau's underlying offshore exploration potential has long been recognized given the country's functional hydrocarbon system, good reserve potential and several drilling prospects in a vast shallow water shelf.

According to the country's national oil company Petroguin, Guinea-Bissau has allowed international companies to begin hydrocarbon exploration in 11 offshore blocks where oil may exist since October of last year.

In light of this news, Energy Capital&Power will host MSGBC Oil, Gas&Power 2021, which will create a national platform for constructive dialogue on natural resource management, investments and initiatives to improve the productivity and sustainability of the current energy matrix.

Offshore exploration could be the future of Guinea-Bissau's energy sector, with various projects underway to develop the country's oil and gas sector.

Onshore Blocks 4 and 5

Onshore blocks 4 and 5 are licensed to Equatorial Guinea's Ada Business GE Lta. Petroguin announced that it had signed an association and participation contract with Ada Business GE Lta last September for the "exploration and exploitation of the petroleum resources of blocks 4 and 5 on the mainland" of Guinea-Bissau.

Shallow Block AGC

The Agency for Management and Cooperation between Senegal and Guinea Bissau (AGC) Shallow is only 100km from Bissau and has sea depths ranging from 25m to 100m, with oil known to be between 50m and 70m. There are a total of 14 wells.

However, only one was drilled after the acquisition of 3D seismic data. The first 3D data was acquired in 1982 and redone in 2003. The most recent 3D acquisition was in 2012.

Initial wells in shallow reservoirs atop the Flore Dome and the salt-induced Gea Dome have produced significant amounts of oil.

The AGC Authority is seeking bids for a future work program from interested parties who have reviewed all past data and can demonstrate competence to operate offshore.

The AGC Authority will send additional information to interested parties explaining the block and its potential, as well as details on the allocation process.

The database, which includes both legacy data from previous operators and more recent shallow oil and reservoir studies, has been turned over to Marine Geological and Geophysical Services to administer and license.

The new data was used to conduct a study of existing wells and mothballed seismic packages. The study was then linked to potential commercial development options.

Sinapa and Esperança permits

The contiguous Sinapa and Esperança licenses are located offshore Guinea-Bissau in the Casamance sub-basin.  Australian independent FAR Limited holds a non-operating interest in these two licenses, which are divided into three blocks (2, 4A and 5A) and cover nearly 5,000 km2.

More than 70% of the land lies above a water column of less than 100 meters, with a maximum water depth of 1,500 meters to the west.

The Sinapa permit hosts the namesake oil discovery - a shallow water salt-related feature with a contingent resource of approximately 13.4 mmbbls of recoverable light oil.

FAR's geotechnical evaluation of this original discovery revealed additional opportunities around the diapir salt. These additional resources support a potential recoverable resource of over 72 mmbbls.

In 2017, a comprehensive assessment of block prospectivity revealed an attractive shelf-edge geological setting along the western portions of the permits - a proven play fairway in Senegal. Two prospects, Atum and Anchova, have been prioritized for further exploration.

In order to meet the remaining commitments on the licenses, the joint venturers, Far Limited, Svenska Petroleum and Petroguin have agreed to apply for an additional three-year extension of the current exploration phase, with the support of the National Oil Company of Guinea-Bissau, Petroguin.

Blocks 2 and 4A & 5A offshore

According to Norwegian independent oil and gas exploration company PetroNor E&P, an Africa-focused independent full-cycle oil and gas exploration and production company, drilling of Blocks 2 and 4A and 5A offshore Guinea-Bissau under the Sinapa and Esperança licenses will take place between late this year 2021 and next year.

The Norwegian company made the statement while providing an update on its transaction to acquire SPE Guinea Bissau AB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Svenska Petroleum Exploration AB, Sweden, and the operator of Block 2 of the Sinapa License, and Blocks 4A and 5A of the Esperança License.

PetroNor also has operating interests in the Rufisque Offshore Profond and Sénégal Offshore Sud Profond permits in Senegal.

Guinea-Bissau is expected to see potentially transformative exploration drilling in the new future, and this can play an important role in reshaping the energy sector in the West African country.

Jasser Hammami, Field Editor