Repurposed jack-up rig sets sail for Gabon oil project

Oslo-listed oil and gas E&P company BW Energy has revealed that a former jack-up rig, which was converted to an offshore production unit, is on its way to Gabon where it will be installed at the firm’s offshore development project, which is on track for the first oil at the start of next year in line with the recently amended timeline.

Back in November 2020, BW Energy bought two sister jack-up rigs – Atla and Balder – from Borr Drilling, with plans to convert one of the rigs for the Hibiscus/Ruche development project off Gabon to reduce investments for the project and time to first oil. The firm followed this up in March 2021, by awarding Houston-based Zentech with the shipyard construction specification preparation contract for the conversion of the jack-up rig Hibiscus Alpha (ex-Atla) to an offshore installation. A few months later, the UAE-based Lamprell was awarded the rig conversion deal.

BW Energy’s Hibiscus/Ruche development project targets the Hibiscus and Ruche Fields, approximately 20 kilometres northwest of the Tortue field and the initial phase of this project involves the drilling of up to six horizontal production wells – four wells will target the Hibiscus field while the remaining two wells will target the Ruche field – in a 12-well phased programme, which will be connected to a production facility. The FPSO BW Adolo will continue to serve as the hub for production in the Dussafu license off Gabon.

Back in May 2022, BW Energy informed that an increased risk of delays was still present for its Hibiscus/Ruche development project due to price inflation on services and materials, although, it was still on track for the first oil later this year. However, the timeline changed in July 2022 when the company disclosed that the first oil from this project may be delayed due to a potential change in the schedule of Borr Drilling’s Norve jack-up rig, which would impact the rig’s availability.

As a result, the slot with BW Energy was bumped to 2023. Therefore, the first oil from the Hibiscus/Ruche development is now expected towards the end of the first quarter of 2023, rather than the previously anticipated date in late 2022. Earlier this month, the company announced the signing of up to a $300 million international reserve-based lending facility, explaining that these funds will initially be used to finance the further development of the Dussafu license. BW Energy holds 73.5 per cent interest in the producing Dussafu Marine permit off Gabon.

In an update on Tuesday, BW Energy revealed the sail away of the BW MaBoMo – former Hibiscus Alpha jack-up drilling rig which has been repurposed as an offshore production facility with 12 well slots – which is currently onboard a heavy-lift vessel in transit to the Dussafu license offshore Gabon where it will be installed to produce oil from the Hibiscus and Ruche fields.

Carl K. Arnet, CEO of BW Energy, remarked: “By repurposing existing oil and gas production assets we extend their economic lifespan, shorten the time to first oil while also significantly reducing the field development investments and CO2 footprint. We are very pleased to have completed the conversion project with excellent HSE results and only minor adjustments to schedule and budget in a highly challenging environment due to COVID-19, supply chain disturbances, geopolitical tension and commodity inflation.”

Furthermore, the BW MaBoMo left the Lamprell yard in Dubai on 8 August following completion of the yard scope with some minor outstanding upgrades, which were executed offshore in preparation for the sail away. BW Energy outlined that the conversion project used approximately 1.9 million manhours with zero LTIs and the BW MaBoMo will be connected to the FPSO BW Adolo via a 20 km pipeline, which will be installed by TechnipFMC.

According to the company, the BW MaBoMo is expected to arrive on the field at the end of September for installation and hook-up with the first oil planned for the end of the first quarter of 2023. The firm underscored that the Hibiscus/Ruche development is expected to add up to 30,000 barrels per day of gross production once all the initial six horizontal production wells are on stream.

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