August 22, 2012
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to Russian NOCs and Service Companies

№ 9 (September 2009)

What Africa Offers
to Russian NOCs and Service Companies

The African continent’s offshore is home to what would have been thought to be a surprising number of highly sophisticated offshore development projects just a decade ago.

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   With the deeper drilling campaigns taking place in frontier areas and resulting prolific discoveries, some of the most advanced technologies, many of them world firsts, are being deployed around the continent to bring these projects onstream.


   From southwest of the continent, Angola holds Africa’s most bustling offshore developments with some of the world’s most sophisticated subsea fields in place or under development; the Greater Plutonio, the Girassol, the Pazflor, and the $2.2-billion Benguela, Belize, Lobito, and Tomboco (BBLT) developments, just to name a few. The country now has 23 large deepwater fields in production – too many to cover at one go. While the development of the country’s deepwater fields has slowed some over the past year you can expect to see two developments begin production in 2009 and two more in 2011.

   Total as operator heads up activities on Angola’s prolific Block 17. The much touted Pazflor development is set to become the first development worldwide to install entire seabed artificial lifting production systems associating gas/liquid separation and pumping modules on several fields. Pazflor is due online in 2011 and is the third production hub to produce from the block. Pazflor is located in water depths of between 600-1,200 meters, and covers some 600 sq. kilometers. The Pazflor combines two developments in one: two subsea production systems dedicated to two different oils (Miocene and Oligocene), linked to 49 production and injection wells and supplying a single 114,000-ton FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) vessel designed to process the mixing of these two oils.

   Total says the main challenge concerning the Miocene reservoirs is the extraction of a heavy (17°-22°API) and highly viscous oil through 35 wells (18 producers and 17 water injectors). The development scheme will consist of the installation of a separation unit including two hybrid liquid-boosting pumps on each of the three subsea production lines of the Miocene fields. The liquids are carried up to the surface by three flexible risers and the gas by six similar risers. The Oligocene reservoirs contain a light oil (35°-38°API), whose production will be assured by a conventional loop linked by three manifolds to seven producer wells; two IPB (Integrated Production Bundle) production risers will connect the subsea network to the FPSO. This production network is accompanied by an injection network comprising five water injection and two gas injection wells, dedicated pipelines and two flexible risers. The Pazflor subsea complex of 175 kilometers of flowlines and 90 kilometers of umbilicals supplied by FMC, will be able to ramp production up to 220,000 bopd.

   Block 17 is also home to the Girassol, the Jasmin, the Dalia, and the Rosa fields, all on production. The Rosa field came onstream in June 2008, marking a milestone in West African production. The Rosa field is located in 1,300 meters water depth and is tied back to the Girassol FPSO, some 15 kilometers away, making it the first deepwater field of this size to be tied back to such a remote installation at such water depths. Total says that the field is expected to pump an additional 150,000 bpd at peak. The block is also home to the CLOV (Cravo, Lirio, Orquidea, and Violeta) fields. The field is expected to come online in 2013.
Chevron operates the Benguela, Belize, Lobito, and Tomboco, or the BBLT development, and the Kuito and Landana fields. The development of the BBLT was unique in that it used a compliant piled tower (CPT), the first installed outside of the Gulf of Mexico. The CPT has topsides weighing over 40,000 tons and is one of the largest structures in the world. Chevron was originally going to use a conventional FPSO with subsea completions but following a design competition the company went with Mustang Engineering’s “bottom-founded” CPT solution for the BBLT project. Chevron awarded Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. (DSME) an $820-million contract for engineering, procurement, construction (EPC), and installation of the project’s production facilities, CPT, and the oil and gas export pipelines. DSME contracted a host of engineering and construction firms in addition to Mustang. DSME selected Alliance Engineering, another Wood Group company, to provide project management personnel in support of several phases of the development, leading to first production. KCA Deutag and National Oilwell Varco picked up the $120-million EPC contract for the platform drilling rig, and the contract for the future operation and maintenance of the rig.

   Another major project in Block 14 is the development of the Tombua and Landana fields. First oil from the fields flowed in June 2006 from the Landana North No. 1 subsea well that is tied back to the BBLT CPT. This tieback to BBLT allowed for early production and for the company to gather important reservoir information. The Tombua-Landana development is a 46-well project lying 50 miles offshore in over 1,200 feet water depth. The development will employ a CPT with one subsea center. Projected peak production from the completed development is 100,000 bpd in 2011.

   ExxonMobil embraced the design one, build multiples development concept and nowhere is that seen more clearly than in its Block 15 Kizomba developments. The three sister Kizomba A, B, and C projects are some of the world’s most sophisticated. The Kizomba A development takes production from the Hungo and Chocalho fields. The wells are linked to an FPSO vessel and production is exported via a CALM (catenary anchor leg mooring) buoy export facility. First oil was achieved ahead of schedule in August 2004. Start-up sister number two, Kizomba B, came online in July 2005 with production from the Kissanje and Dikanza fields. The development closely follows the Kizomba A concept, capturing synergies and lessons learned to further enhance project quality. The third sister, Kizomba C, is comprised of two 100,000 boepd FPSOs located east of the Kizomba A and B developments. Production for Kizomba C comes from the Mondo field since January 2008 as well as from additional production from the Saxi and Batuque fields since July 2008. Kizomba A, B and C are benchmark projects that set world-record cycle times with the lowest unit-development costs for projects of this size and complexity.

   One of the developments due onstream in the next two years is BP’s Block 31 Pluto, Saturno, Vênus, and Marte (PSVM) fields. Block 31 contains 15 discoveries to date and the PSVM fields are the first to head toward development, with approval for the development coming from Sonangol in July 2008. The development of the fields is based on a standardized development concept, which according to BP is intended to reduce cycle time, optimize capital, and maximize operating efficiency through standardized design, fabrication, and commissioning.

   The PSVM development is located in water depths of around 2,000 meters. Construction work is expected to start during 2008 with first oil planned in 2011 and building to a plateau of about 150,000 bpd by 2012. Contracts for the development have been flying off BP’s desk with Expro being awarded a multi-year contract to provide equipment and services, and completion landing string technology. Contracts also went to Halliburton for the key elements of well completions including upper and lower completions equipment and downhole flow control. In addition, Halliburton has been awarded the drilling and completions fluids business for these wells. Technip was awarded the contract for the engineering, procurement, and manufacture of flexible pipe, and the engineering, procurement, and manufacture of umbilicals and associated equipment. Aker Solutions will be providing for the delivery of subsea umbilicals. Under the agreement, Aker Solutions will manufacture and deliver 48 kilometers of steel tube umbilicals, using its patented carbon fiber rod technology which is developed specifically for deepwater and ultra-deepwater conditions.
(Part 2, Next issue: Egypt, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Kongo)

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