Atlas Oranto Looks to Fast-Track Development Potential in Niger Delta

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Already serving as sub-Saharan Africa’s largest crude producer, Nigeria holds considerable untapped resource wealth across deep-water and ultra-deepwater basins – estimated at 13 billion barrels – along with shallow-water and marginal assets in its oil-rich Niger Delta. As Nigeria’s largest privately-held exploration and production group, Atlas Oranto is currently seeking technical partners to exploit promising offshore hydrocarbon leads. The Group will promote farm-in opportunities across three highly prospective blocks at the upcoming U.S.-Africa Energy Forum (USAEF) 2021 (December 9-19; Houston, Texas), appealing to American technical operators with offshore drilling expertise to fast-track development of large-scale exploration and appraisal prospects. Nigeria already represents one of two strategic production hubs for the pan-African explorer – after the marginal Ejulebe field came online over two decades ago – confirming the viability of Nigeria’s offshore assets to be brought to market.

Under a 20-year PSC, Atlas Oranto holds a 70% equity stake in OML 109 and resumed workover and well intervention activity on the block in July 2020 to improve production from the marginal field of Ejulebe. With an estimated resource potential of more than 500 million barrels of oil equivalent, OML 109 comprises 14 prospects and leads identified and mapped, and offers a low-cost operating environment in shallow water and in close proximity to existing infrastructure, such as the Escravos Terminal. Tuna South is the largest recognized oil prospect, containing 2P oil reserves of 114 million barrels. With six wells drilled and over 55% of the block area not covered by 3D seismic data, Atlas Oranto is currently seeking a farm-in partner to explore and develop projects outside of the Ejulebe oilfield area. In terms of neighboring discoveries, the block lies alongside legacy oil producers including Okan, Meiji, Delta and Delta South. Within three kilometers of the block’s production platform, two adjacent fault segments could be larger than the Ejulebe field and tied into existing infrastructure, if brought online. The Ejulebe SW closure is mapped on 3D data and expected to contain reservoirs at the same levels as Ejulebe, containing combined resources of 35 million barrels at four zones. Ejulebe WSW is similar to its neighboring fault block Ejulebe SW and is likely to have two effective reservoir zones containing 17 million barrels of combined resources.

“The renewed development of OML109 will bring a boost to local content development in Nigeria, and support the industry’s recovery following the COVID-19 crisis,” said Prince Arthur Eze, Executive Chairman of Atlas Oranto. “As Nigeria multiplies efforts to build domestic capacity and develop the Nigerian content, we intend to live up to expectations as one of the country’s major indigenous players. We expect the ongoing well interventions on OML 109 to deliver quick wins on the recovery and enhancement of production from the field, and express our thanks to the Department of Petroleum Resources for facilitating all permits.”

Atlas Oranto is also seeking a technical partner to farm into OPL 293, in which extensive 3D seismic data surveys have identified three distinct leads: SW Diapir, South Central and Sehki West. SW Diapir features mid-case reserves potential of 398 billion cubic feet (bcf) of non-associated gas, along with 271 bcf associated gas and 66 million barrels of oil. South Central could contain 321 bcf of non-associated gas with 104 million barrels of oil, while Sehki West has a mid-case reserves potential of 30 bcf of non-associated gas and 13 million barrels of oil. As a result, Atlas Oranto and a farm-in partner will look to further explore the acreage and appraise and develop OPL 293’s significant gas leads. Further corroborating the block’s potential, the adjacent OPL 129 is home to the Nnwa gas discovery, Sehki oilfield and Bilah gas/condensate field. To the east, the Nnwa formation extends into Shell’s OML 219 as Doro, and to the west, Nigeria’s second major deepwater discovery, Agbami, straddles OML 127 and 128.

Located in the western Niger Delta deepwater province, OPL 320 is a deepwater asset owned and operated by Atlas Oranto with major upside potential. The Group met its initial one-well work commitment, having drilled the Echim-1 well and encountered 25 meters of net hydrocarbon pay. The discovery is estimated to hold 76-186 million barrels of oil equivalent (mboe) in proven reserves at two reservoir levels, with upside resource potential of 176-316 mboe at other levels. High-quality 3D seismic data, interpretation and further analysis is available for most of OPL 320, in which three independent prospects have been identified. From the southern edge of the acreage in OPL 322, the existing Bobo field – which contains over 250 mboe of reserves – extends into OPL 320. Accordingly, Atlas Oranto is seeking a farm-in partner with expertise in deepwater environments and technical operatorship to drill the block’s second exploration well.

Energy Capital & Power (ECP) – in partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee – invites U.S. companies, investors and organizations to participate in the first-ever U.S.-Africa Energy Forum (USAEF) (December 9-10, 2021, Houston, Texas), introducing American companies to African opportunities. To learn more about how U.S. firms can advance the agenda of sustainable, long-term investment in African energy, please visit To sponsor, speak or attend USAEF 2021, please contact Senior Director James Chester at james@

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Grace Goodrich

Grace Goodrich

Grace Goodrich is a Publications Editor at Energy Capital & Power, where she writes about the intersection of energy, policy and global finance in sub-Saharan Africa's fastest-growing economies. Grace produces our Africa Energy Series investment reports in Angola and Equatorial Guinea (2019), as well as co-authored African Energy Chamber: Road to Recovery (2021).

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