By Amy McLellan
Energean Oil & Gas is best known for its interests in Greece, where it is embarking on a major investment programme to hike output from its Prinos oilfield. But the Athens-based company is also keen to prove its exploration credentials. In addition to scooping up exploration acreage in Greece, it also has bid for acreage in Montenegro, has exploration interests offshore Israel and holds two blocks in Egypt.
Here, the privately-owned company is spending US$6 million to explore the West Kom Ombo block in Upper Egypt, a frontier region that has proved hit-and-miss for other operators although there is production from the Al Baraka oilfield in the neighbouring block.
Energean’s block stretches for almost 21,000 sq km and has seen some previous exploration: there are two existing wells, both of which encountered good quality reservoir sands but failed to find any hydrocarbons, a 1,500 km 2D seismic programme and aeromag survey data. Energean plans to re-interpret the existing data, acquire another 400 km of 2D seismic and is committing to drill two wells by June 2016.
Energean has a 60 per cent interest in the block, where it sees geological similarities with the Al Baraka field. This is an interesting project, adding geographic diversity and exploration upside. Importantly, the near-term commitments, at US$6 million, are modest.
As a producing company – it pumps 2,000 bpd from Prinos – Energean has inevitably felt the sting of the oil price slump. But, as CEO Mathios Rigas told oilbarrel.com last month, the Greek E&P also sees the price weakness as an opportunity as it is contracting for its US$200 million development project at a time when service and equipment costs are mirroring the oil price.
This investment programme will drain another 30 million barrels of 2P reserves in the Prinos basin to lift output from 2,000 bpd to 10,000 bpd by 2016. Fifteen wells will be drilled and two new unmanned platforms installed at the Prinos North and Epsilon satellites, tied back to Energean’s existing infrastructure, which has capacity to handle 30,000 bpd. This will extend the life of the field, which has been producing since the 1970s, for another 15 years.
“Now is the time to invest so we are at full production capacity when the oil price comes up,” he told oilbarrel.com. “Long term players like us will come out stronger.”