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New respite as ExxonMobil sees 1bn recoverable oil resource

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United States-based ExxonMobil Corporation yesterday, said it had discovered up to one billion barrels of oil in the Owowo field, offshore Nigeria.

The group said it was “a significant discovery with a potential recoverable resource of 500 million and one billion barrels.”

It said the Owowo-3 well, which was drilled on September 23, encountered about 460 feet (140 metres) of oil-bearing sandstone reservoir.

Owowo-3 extended the resource discovered by the Owowo-2 well, which encountered about 515 feet (157 metres) of oil-bearing sandstone reservoir, ExxonMobil said in a statement on its website.

The President, ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Stephen Greenlee, said, “We are encouraged by the results and will work with our partners and the government on future development plans.”

The company said the Owowo-3 was safely drilled to 10,410 feet (3,173 metres) in 1,890 feet (576 metres) of water.

The Owowo field spans portions of the contract areas of Oil Prospecting Licence 223 and Oil Mining Licence 139. The well was drilled by ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria (Deepwater Ventures) Limited, and proved additional resource in deeper reservoirs.

Currently, ExxonMobil holds 27 per cent interest and is the operator of the OPL 223 and OML 139. Joint venture partners include Chevron Nigeria Deepwater Limited (27 per cent interest), Total E&P Nigeria Limited (18 per cent interest), Nexen Petroleum Deepwater Nigeria Limited (18 per cent interest), and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company Limited (10 per cent interest).

The company is also the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, had last week announced the sale of its 60 per cent stake in Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc to Nipco Plc, signalling its exit from Nigeria’s downstream oil and gas sub-sector.

Besides, the global oil benchmark, Brent crude, bounced back to the $50 per barrel mark on Thursday after it fell to a 24-day low the previous day.

Brent, against which half of the world’s oil is priced, rose by 50 cents to $50.48 per barrel as of 7.41pm Nigerian time on Thursday.

Nigeria’s oil production has risen to 1.9 million barrels per day after plummeting to near 30-year lows of around 1.5 million to 1.6 million bpd in August as a result of the upsurge in militant attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

“We have built capacity of up to 2.4 million bpd, but [we are] currently producing about 1.9 million bpd,” the Special Adviser on International Energy Relations to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Omar Farouk, said on the Twitter handle of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources two days ago.


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