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Exploration and appraisal drilling in West Africa is poised to double this year after last year's level hit a record low in some countries.
That's the view of Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd., Edinburgh, which said only 22 E&A wells were drilled in 1994 in West Africa, down from 25 in 1993 and 56 in 1992.
"However, in 1995 we are expecting a significant pick-up in activity, with anything from 40 to 46 wells being drilled," the analyst said.
What last year lacked in E&A well numbers, was made up for in success. Eight potentially commercial discoveries were reported out of 17 wildcats drilled.
The eight strikes hold estimated reserves of more than 310 million bbl of oil, while three step-out wells added a further 175 million bbl of oil reserves to existing fields.
Wood Mackenzie said oil production from the region, made up of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Zaire, Angola, and Namibia, rose 4% during the year to an average 1.22 million b/d in 1994.
Production will continue to increase in the near term, Wood Mackenzie said, averaging about 1.29 million b/d in 1995 and reaching 1.42 million b/d in 1998.
Remaining reserves for the seven countries are estimated at 5.8 billion bbl of oil out of an original 12 billion in place. …