Nigeria triumph fires pan-Africa drive at Sterling

Vol 15, PW 9 (03 Nov 11) People & Policy

Success in Nigeria has led the $6.9bn Vadodara-headquartered Sandesara group to actively pursue E&P opportunities across Africa and the Middle East through subsidiary Sterling Global Oil Resources.

“We want to expand our African presence,” Sterling tells this report. “We are looking at blocks in Angola, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and South Sudan and also Iraq and Syria.

” Sterling, he adds, expects to firm up these acquisition plans within the next two years. West Africa has proved lucky for Sterling, which has four onshore blocks in Nigeria with a total area of 2000-sq km.

In August, Sterling began producing 12,500 b/d from onshore Nigerian block OPL-280, located in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Sterling is producing this oil from 18 wells, three of which are ‘horizontal’ wells.

“We plan to add another 15 producing wells by April 2012,” we hear. “By then we expect production to rise to at least 30,000 b/d.

” By 2016, Sterling expects production to touch 100,000 b/d at the former relinquished Shell block, as more exploration and appraisal wells are converted to ‘producers’. “OPL-280 lies at the heart of the most prolific oil zone in the world,” we are told.

Between 1966 and 1989, Shell drilled 10 wells at this block, which holds the Okwuibome, Anieze and Ameshi oilfields. But only 152-sq km of the block’s total 380-sq km area has been explored so far and Sterling wants to explore the rest.

Sterling estimates the block, won in a licensing round, could hold up to 250m barrels of ‘recoverable’ oil reserves. “Several prolific blocks are nearby,” we hear.

To the north is Centrica-operated block OPL-283 and AGIP-operated block OML-60. To the east lies Sahara Energy-operated OPL 228 and to the west are two blocks operated by Chorus Energy and Midwest OG.

Shell and BP block OML-20 lies due south.

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