American oil giant, ExxonMobil, has announced the discovery of about 1 billion barrels of crude oil in a Nigerian offshore oilfield.
In an emailed statement on Thursday, the firm described the development as “a significant discovery with a potential recoverable resource of between 500 million and one billion barrels”.
ExxonMobil said the discovery came when its engineers carried out a drilling exercise at Owowo-3 oil well, several miles of the coast of Bayelsa State, southern Nigeria.
The exercise took place on September 23 and the engineers encountered about 460 feet (140 metres) of oil-bearing sandstone reservoir.
The latest discovery followed an earlier find at Owowo-2 well, which yielded about 515 feet (157 metres) of oil-bearing sandstone reservoir.
“We are encouraged by the results and will work with our partners and the government on future development plans,” ExxonMobil President, Stephen Greenlee, said in the statement.
The Owowo field spans portions of the contract areas of Oil Prospecting Licence 223 and Oil Mining Licence 139. The well was drilled by ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria (Deepwater Ventures) Limited, and proved additional resource in deeper reservoirs.
But the company warned that the discovery and other future activities around it are subject to revisions.
“Statements of future events or conditions in this release are forward-looking statements.
“Actual future results, including project plans and schedules and resource recoveries could differ materially due to changes in market conditions affecting the oil and gas industry or long-term oil and gas price levels; political or regulatory developments; reservoir performance; the outcome of future exploration and development efforts,” it said.
ExxonMobil holds 27 per cent joint venture interest in Nigeria’s oil and is the operator of the OPL 223 and OML 139.
Joint venture partners include Chevron Nigeria Deepwater Limited (27 per cent interest), Total E&P Nigeria Limited (18 per cent interest), Nexen Petroleum Deepwater Nigeria Limited (18 per cent interest), and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company Limited (10 per cent interest).
The announcement came days after ExxonMobil sold its 60 per cent stake in Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc to Nipco Plc.
The company said the Owowo-3 was safely drilled to 10,410 feet (3,173 metres) in 1,890 feet (576 metres) of water.