Trident Equatorial Guinea: A Fit-For-Purpose Approach

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Arthur de Fautereau, Managing Director of Trident Equatorial Guinea

Energy Capital and Power spoke to Trident Equatorial Guinea Managing Director, Arthur de Fautereau, about the company’s resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trident Equatorial Guinea is one of the few operators whose production has not been impacted by COVID-19, due to the company’s sustained investment in increasing capacity of existing mature assets, along with a three-well drilling campaign in Block G that kicked off last June.

How would you evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on Trident´s current production levels and future production outlook?

Despite the general downturn in the oil and gas industry due to the pandemic, COVID-19-related restrictions and lower oil prices, Trident has remained very busy in the past 18-month period. We have been exploring the addition of subsea equipment to the Ceiba deep offshore field to recover and secure long-term production, as well as some gas-lifting and other subsea equipment. We have also pursued investment in the $50-million Okume Upgrade Project that aims to increase the capacity of our Okume Field. In 2021, we started our first drilling campaign, which is the only drilling operation taking place in-country this year and aims to drill three wells. This program proves our capacity to invest in tough times, as well as our confidence in the future potential of the Rio Muni Basin in which our fields are located.

We have also installed a new production platform with a drilling rig on the Elon Field. Our first well (POGE-1 Well) looks promising, and we are moving to drill two additional wells. On the Ceiba Field, we will continue to invest and further improve the integrity of this mature field, as well as upgrade the subsea pumping capacity to increase production. Those are mature assets, so we plan to keep investing in integrity to help maintain the overall production level. Finally, in 2020, Trident Energy stepped into Brazil where we acquired the Pampo and Enchova clusters in the Campos Basin. These fields are producing 30,000 barrels per day. Before this operation, Trident Energy was only operating in Equatorial Guinea, and has now become a truly global organization.

While COVID-19 has delayed some projects because of travel and quarantine restrictions, this has primarily affected costs rather than production levels. We have been able to maintain our day-to-day production activities throughout the pandemic and never had any shutdowns. Our production outlook is favorable because we have increased our production capacity with the aforementioned projects and are currently drilling additional wells. We should be able to return to 2018 production levels by adding a couple thousand barrels per day to our current production. Globally, we should exit this 18-month period being mostly unaffected on the production side, largely thanks to our sustained investment and ongoing drilling campaign, as well as the incredible work of our on- and offshore teams.

How is Trident leveraging the latest oilfield technologies to achieve production efficiencies and optimize mature assets like the Ceiba Field and Okume Complex?

Technology is key in breathing new life into mature assets, and this is what Trident does best. We installed the first electrical submersible pump in Equatorial Guinea with a fit-for-purpose workover unit and have doubled the production of the wells at a reasonable cost. We have now placed these pumps on five to six of our wells. We also continue to find ways to implement projects at a lower cost by maximizing use of existing facilities. For example, at the Ceiba Field, we have utilized a deep-offshore hot-tapping operation that enables us to connect a new pipe into an existing one by using a submarine robot (remotely operated underwater vehicles) and avoid the cost of laying additional lines. Subsea drilling operations are typically multi-million-dollar projects; by using the best technology and these types of robot devices, we have been able to avoid incurring much bigger costs and to find the right solutions that are ideally adapted to the size and age of our fields. As a result, we are able to find new ways to produce oil at a reasonable price. Trident is demonstrating its creativity by implementing innovative projects that have never been done before in Equatorial Guinea, including the installation of a platform with a drilling rig, the subsea submersible pump and the hot-tapping solution. Trident is very proud of its staff and their commitment to do more and better every day.

In 2020, we also completed a 4D seismic survey, of which processing and analysis is currently underway. This technology can help us understand more about the behavior of the field over time by shooting seismic waves at different points in time and space. With this new technology, we should be able to find some sweet spots for future drilling campaigns. We are also working on firming up the drilling program on the deeper water of the Okume Field in 2022. Trident is thus applying a fit-for-purpose approach and applying solutions applicable to mature oil fields, revisiting all options and ensuring that we do not leave any opportunities behind. 

ECP, in partnership with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, announced the launch of its Africa Energy Series: Equatorial Guinea 2021 campaign – comprising a report and documentary – that will serve as a critical tool to navigate the energy investment landscape of one of Africa’s more mature petroleum-producing markets. To participate in the upcoming Africa Energy Series documentaries, please contact editorial@18.198.47.39 and to advertise or sponsor, please contact sales@18.198.47.39.

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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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