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Making Offshore Marginal Oil Fields Profitable through Technology

The African  oil patch is full of marginal oil and gas fields which if developed will help to boost the economy of the continent tremendously. Whether offshore or onshore, these fields which are considered marginal based on ranking of mega oil companies are abundantly “wasting” in many countries of Africa. Be it in Nigeria where there are more than 200 marginal oil fields, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Angola, and even in the region's new frontiers, name it, some of these fields will remained undeveloped.


When it comes to deep water exploration and production, it is certain that the Golden triangle of deep water production in the world is Gulf of Mexico, Offshore Brazil and West Africa. In these three areas, more deep water oil and gas fields have been discovered than any other place in the world. Unfortunately, West Africa is losing abundant revenue due to many fields classified as marginal which may never be put into production. Yet, there are tendencies that more deep water fields will still be discovered in West Africa. All of the fields to be discovered in future may not be like the Bonga and Agbami in Nigeria or the Jubilee Field in Ghana.


Some of the yet to be discovered oil and gas fields may end up been marginal fields due to the level of reservoirs which big oil companies consider not to be commercially attractive enough for them to produce. However, some of these field have the potentials of producing up to 100,000barrels of oil which at today’s price of oil turns out to be billions of dollars buried and untouched, while millions of Africa’s struggle in abject poverty - some living with less than $2 a day.


According to Dr. Keith Millheim, who is an expert in deep water production technology, “the simple answer why these marginal oil fields cannot be drilled is that conventional perceptions of reserves and deep water technology, costs, time, and the deployment of human resources continue to limit the development of these fields.”


Millheim went further to state that “the knowledge of the oil company ranking system is critical in understanding why many deep water fields, are ranked as non – commercial or declared non-commercial by mega oil companies. Another threshold been used by some companies are manpower necessary to do all the engineering and operations to commercialize a deep water field.”

 In his further analysis, Dr. Millheim, stated that, another major reason companies are deferring or even backing away from some deep water discoveries are the upfront capital demands front field development without good understanding of the reservoir complexity.


Therefore, the bottom line to the challenges in developing deep water marginal oil fields between 50 and 100 million BOE in West Africa will not be developed in the near future, even with the price of oil around $100 per barrel. This presents a challenging scenario for West African countries that rely on the major E & P companies for development of their resources


Dr Millheim, who will be a keynote speaker in the 7th Annual Sub-Saharan Africa Oil & Gas Conference scheduled for May 1-2, 2014 at the Marriott Westchase, Houston, believes that there is a solution  towards the problems of developing offshore marginal fields in West Africa.

In his presentation titled: “Making Offshore Marginal Fields Profitable through Technology”, Millheim will focus his talk on technologies and approaches that could make marginal fields profitable, using a staged fields development process. The presentation will also show how smaller companies can venture into deep water to take over the role of the marginal field developer.



About Dr. Keith Milleim:


Dr.Keith Millheim received PhD in Mining from university of Loeben, M.Sc in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma, and B.Sc in Petroleum Engineering from Marietta University. Keith is a member of the U.S. Engineering Academy. Millheim is currently the chief executive officer of Atlantis Offshore. Dr. Millheim retired as a Distinguished Advisor for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, the highest technical position in the company. Before this position, he was the company’s chief engineer for technology. Dr. Millheim has developed many innovative technologies in drilling.  He is a member of Society of Engineers and has authored many books on drilling and petroleum engineering.



About the Conference:

The objective of this conference is to create a common forum where top government officials, national oil companies from Sub-Saharan Africa, international oil companies, independent exploration, production, service companies, industry top players, investors, financial institutions and private equity firms  will meet to exchange ideas, and also showcase available opportunities. It will also create a platform for exhibiting, discussing case studies, best practices, challenges, issues and above all network for optimization of goals in a harmonious environment.


If you want to know what’s going on in the burgeoning Sub-Saharan Africa oil and gas market; about E & P updates, upstream, downstream, shale oil and gas potentials of the region, gas monetization plans, new frontier opportunities, marginal oil field  and market development, development of offshore and deep, shallow water  fields, advancements in technology, reservoir engineering, geology, geophysics, the new players, nascent petroleum laws, upcoming licensing rounds, its geopolitical atmosphere or to plug into the latest business opportunities in the region and network with top government officials, decision makers and industry top players, this conference is for you.

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