According to the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) 2022 Annual Report (p. 25), oil production from the Jubilee Field witnessed an increase in production from 27,335,481 barrels at year’s end in 2021 to 30,523,813 barrels at year’s end in 2022. The report attributes the increase in production to the successful drilling and completion campaigns of wells in the field in 2021. The Jubilee field is one of the three oil producing fields in Ghana, operated by Tullow Ghana on behalf of the Jubilee Partners. This year, the government of Ghana, according to the PIAC report recorded its highest revenue of $1.43 billion from oil production.
In 2021, Jubilee and Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) Partners commenced the execution of an investment plan named the Ghana Value Maximization Plan (GVMP). The plan entails over $4 billion of capital investment aimed at delivering increased oil production and is estimated to deliver about $13 billion (at an oil price of $65-$70 per barrel of oil) in net value to the Government of Ghana through royalties, taxes, etc. over the next 10 years starting in 2021. Under the 10-year GVMP, Jubilee and TEN Partners planned to undertake a multi-year, multi-well drilling campaign.
So far, the GVMP is beginning to yield value to the government from additional oil production across the Jubilee fields in its first two years of implementation. Following the rollout of the investment plan in 2021, daily average production in the Jubilee field has risen from seventy-four thousand barrels of oil per day (74.9 kbopd) to eighty-three thousand barrels of oil per day (83.6 kbopd) as of the end of 2022.
The execution of the GVMP from April 2021 to date has delivered eight new wells, six in the Jubilee field and two in the TEN field, at an average cost of c. $50 million per well (more than 10% below the average expected cost for these wells) and ahead of schedule. To date, the Jubilee wells have delivered successful results, in contrast to the TEN wells.
As part of plans to sustain increased oil production in the Jubilee field, the Jubilee Partners are investing in the Jubilee South-East (JSE) and North-East projects. Production from the JSE is expected to commence in the second half of 2023, with gross oil production likely to be in excess of 100 thousand barrels of oil per day (kbopd) once all the JSE wells have been brought online.
The JSE area is estimated to contain up to 60 million untapped reserves. When fully developed, it is expected to push production from the Jubilee field into excess of 100 kbopd in the near-term. This new development represents a major step in the efforts of the Jubilee partners to generate value for the Government of Ghana and all stakeholders.
The first oil from the Jubilee South-East project will be a significant milestone, bringing previously undeveloped reserves to production and helping define future growth opportunities in the Jubilee area. The JSE project is nearing completion on budget and on time.
In addition to the drilling of new wells in the JSE area, the development of the area will also entail the laying of pipelines and the installation of complex fabricated subsea infrastructure such as manifolds, pile tops, and water injection structures, amongst other infrastructure. The work to achieve the development of the area involves composite engineering, a highly skilled workforce, and grave attention to detail. The installation of the subsea infrastructure is being done by the Skandi Africa vessel, one of the world’s largest subsea construction vessels operated by Technip FMC. It is a new subsea installation vessel fitted with state-of-the-art technology and the capacity to conduct complex subsea pipe-laying activities. The pipe-laying system is about 70 metres high off the deck of the vessel and weighs about 2000 tonnes.
The place of local capacity in the development of the Jubilee field cannot be overemphasised. Since Jubilee’s first oil, Tullow, and the Jubilee and TEN Partners have made deliberate efforts to develop local capacity and support local participation in the oil and gas industry.
It is noteworthy that the majority of the complex subsea infrastructure currently being installed in the JSE field was fabricated here in Ghana by a company that has over 90% of its workforce as Ghanaians. The Orsam Fabrication Yard is a Ghanaian-owned company that was established in November 2021 to undertake several work scopes in the fabrication and manufacture of subsea and other equipment. Since its inception, the company has conducted training and development initiatives to equip the workforce with the high levels of proficiency and professionalism required to meet international standards. To date, the company has completed over one million man-hours successfully without a single safety incident, making it a remarkable story of true local capacity development.
The complexity and scale of the operations at the Orsam Fabrication Yard in Ghana are testament to Tullow’s commitment to the development of local capacity to manage intricate engineering processes. What used to be outsourced or procured from abroad, is now competently made locally. That means jobs, improved economic livelihoods, and better welfare for the people. But even more exciting is the development of a critical mass of technical competence for the oil and gas industry, barely two decades after finding oil in Ghana.
Although the Jubilee field is delivering increased oil production, the TEN field has been on the path of natural decline. The PIAC report identifies a decline in production in the TEN field that is attributable to the natural decline of the field. To arrest the decline, the TEN Partners have developed a TEN Enhancement Plan and are now working together with the Government of Ghana and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to develop an amendment to the TEN Plan of Development (PoD) that will enable the Partners to execute a TEN Enhancement Plan that ensures the sustainability of the economic life of the field.
The natural decline of an oil field occurs due to several factors, including decreasing pressure and reservoir quality. When an oil field is first discovered, the pressure of the reservoir helps push the oil towards the surface. However, as the field is depleted, the pressure decreases, and less oil is able to flow out. Over time, the quality of the reservoir may decline, making it more difficult to extract the remaining oil. This could be due to changes in the rock’s properties or the accumulation of water or gas in the reservoir. Other causes of natural decline include increasing water production and reservoir compartmentalization.
Overall, these factors contribute to a decline in oil production from a particular field over time, eventually leading to the point where it is no longer economically viable to continue producing oil from that field.
The TEN Partners and GNPC, Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), and the Ministry of Energy are presently involved in a four-day intensive workshop reviewing a proposed amendment to the TEN PoD that will support the enhanced recovery of hydrocarbons and arrest the decline of the TEN field.
To ensure that the production from the TEN field remains economical, the TEN Partners, GNPC, and the Ministry of Energy will need to agree on an amended PoD for TEN fields to be approved by the Minister of Energy. As per PIAC’s recommendation, increase in oil production in the country will require favourable energy policy to ensure that the country’s oil resources are not stranded.
The amendment to the TEN PoD is also expected to deliver increased gas resource recovery and intensify domestic export to provide guaranteed additional gas resources of 200 mmscf/d from both TEN and Jubilee fields of cheaper, sustainable resources for power generation and energy security for the country.
The continued support of the Ministry of Energy will enable the Jubilee and TEN Partners add additional oil production profiles through the continued delivery of the GVMP, and execution of the Jubilee South-East project. The Partners also envisage maximizing oil production through the delivery of the revised TEN PoD, in an era of energy transition to enable the extension of the economic life of the TEN field and deliver gas resources to provide energy security and avoid the curse of stranded resources.
Tullow Ghana is the operator of the Jubilee and TEN Fields and operates on behalf of the Jubilee and TEN Partners including Tullow Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Kosmos Energy, Petro SA and Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited.