WINDHOEK – Nabirm Energy Services, the Namibian registered arm of Nabirm Global, an oil and gas explorer, has upped the ante on offshore exploration by contracting Electromagnetic Geoservices (EMGS) to conduct a 3D controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) survey offshore Namibia.
The program, valued at over US$1 million (more than N$14 million at current exchange rate), will cover acreage in block 2113A, where Nabirm holds a petroleum exploration license (Licence 0058) in the Walvis Basin.
CSEM is defined as a stationary imaging experiment that generates data sensitive to changes in sediment properties.
According to the chief executive officer of Nabirm, Olayinka Arowolo, EMGS will provide processing, inversion and interpretation services to Nabirm post-acquisition. Subject to vessel availability, acquisition is scheduled for the first or second quarter of 2020, with an automatic termination in the event of no availability in May 2020.
He emphasised that with the CSEM survey Nabirm aims to sidestep the recent trend where several recent high-profile exploration wells by leading exploration and prospecting companies have failed to unlock commercial quantities of hydrocarbons.
“This will be the first survey of its kind in the region. We believe that EMGS’ proprietary technology will help us de-risk our prospects significantly,” said Arowolo, adding: “Risk Based Solutions Namibia will assist with obtaining the required environmental clearance certificate prior to the acquisition.”
Upon enquiry by New Era, Arowolo explained that when exploring for hydrocarbons, companies usually have a portfolio of prospects under consideration for drilling.
“Their ability to make a return on investment through exploration depends on the quality of the prospect portfolio. The challenge all exploration companies have is that most of the prospects in their portfolio will be either brine-filled or contain non-commercial amounts of hydrocarbons and distinguishing the non-commercial prospects from the ones worth drilling,” said Arowolo.
This, he said, is clearly demonstrated by the recent failure of several high-profile Amplitude Versus Offset (AVO) supported frontier basin prospects like Fatala in Guinea, Skipjack in Guyana, Araku in Suriname and Hippocampe and Lamantin in Mauritania.
“These prospects contributed to the industry’s very poor reserve replacement ratio of only 11 percent achieved in 2017. We see that despite considerable advances in seismic technology, the industry appears to be having less success in finding substantial reserves. The cases cited above were all either wet or had residual hydrocarbons – this could easily have been identified using CSEM at a fraction of the drilling cost,” said Arowolo.
He continued that it is only by accessing a variety of different data sources and technologies that a complete picture of the subsurface and its economic potential is developed.
“With well data often scarce, many operators today rely on structural images and elastic properties derived from seismic when evaluating prospective fields and making crucial exploration decisions. Yet are operators getting the necessary information on fluid content, hydrocarbon volumes and sub-salt imaging that are so important to exploration success? CSEM surveys map resistive bodies in the subsurface. The larger the resistive body, the greater the response with the electrical resistivity of the subsurface strongly correlating with the fluid content and the saturation of hydrocarbon reservoirs,” Arowolo added.
CSEM data is a consistent, reliable and independent geophysical measurement. When integrated with other geophysical data, acoustic and otherwise, CSEM improves the probability of success and, more importantly, the probability of economic success.
Arowolo remained adamant that integrating high-quality 3D CSEM data with seismic and other subsurface data reduces risk and increases discovery rates during both the exploration and production phases.
Meanwhile, EMGS CEO, Bjørn Petter Lindhom, commented: “We are working on developing a 2020 multi-client campaign offshore Namibia, which will allow us to deploy a vessel to the region.”
Nabirm is an oil and gas explorer focused on projects in politically stable and technically de-risked countries. The company’s main focus in the immediate term is on the exploration of the conjugate margin of the offshore Namibian continental shelf and its onshore basins. Nabirm’s Namibian Petroleum Exploration Licence in Block 2113A overlaps the under-explored, distal offshore Walvis Basin and the proximal onshore Huab Basins, south of the Walvis Ridge. The licence is held jointly by Nabirm (90 percent) and the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) (10 percent).
In addition to the license, Nabirm and Namcor are parties to a petroleum agreement and joint operating agreement with government through the Ministry of Mines and Energy.