Wood Mackenzie, a research and consultancy group in the global energy industry has revealed TotalEnergies’ recent discovery offshore Nigeria could be the country’s biggest shallow-water find in the past 10 years.
Last week, the French oil major revealed it had hit gas and liquids with its Ntokon probe in OML 102, a rare exploration well in the world-beating Niger Delta play, albeit the operator did not reveal the size of the find.
Addressing TotalEnergies discovery, Gail Anderson, director of upstream research at Wood Mackenzie, said “Ntokon is likely to be Nigeria’s biggest shallow water discovery in a decade. Despite the lack of exploration in recent times, this discovery shows that there is still plenty of running room in the shallow water Niger Delta.”
Based on analogous net pay of shallow water discoveries in the Tertiary Agbada formation of the Niger Delta, and above-average recovery from high quality reservoirs, Wood Mackenzie estimates that the field could hold resources in the range of 300 to 400 mmboe.
The discovery was made on shallow water block OML 102, which is part of a joint venture between operator TotalEnergies (40 per cent) and NNPC Limited (60 per cent). Ntokon will be developed as a tie-back to the Ofon field, 20 kilometres to the northeast, on the same block.
Said Anderson, “Assuming 320 mmboe of reserves, a wellhead platform development of 60-70 metres water depth with up to 30 wells and a multi-phase pipeline to Ofon could achieve first oil in 2029. This would generate a healthy IRR of 24 per cent, based on the current concession terms, with the understanding that the JV will not convert to the Petroleum Industry Act fiscal terms.”
Wood Mackenzie analysis notes that filling the Ofon facilities and the oil terminal will significantly cut emissions intensity, while a ready-made gas export route will make Ntokon a zero-flare development.
“This demonstrates the advantages of shorter-cycle tie-backs over more expensive stand-alone developments for both cost savings and lower emissions,” said Anderson. “However, there are challenges. Nigeria is not known for short lead-times, particularly where JV projects are concerned. Ntokon will provide a test in the face of stiff global competition to see if all interested parties could quickly progress lower-cost, lower-carbon projects and allow Nigeria to kick-start desperately-needed investment and recover its declining production.”