US independent wins green light for West Africa FPSO project

US-listed independent Vaalco Energy is set to push ahead with its $310 million Venus project offshore Equatorial Guinea after securing final development approval from the government.

Located in Block P in the Rio Muni basin, Venus has lain untapped since it was discovered in 2005 because, holding just 23 million barrels of oil, it was considered a marginal project despite being in shallow water.

However, on 8 March, the Venus development plan was rubber-stamped by the government after just a few days.

First oil is now expected in 2026 via subsea wells tied back to a floating production, storage and offloading vessel.

Based on the results from the discovery well, supported by reservoir modelling, the partners expect production from the field to reach about 15,000 barrels per day from two production wells and water injection well.

The FPSO is also expected to handle output eventually from the small Europa discovery, while Block P also has exploration potential including the 165 million barrel Southwest Grande prospect.

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Equatorial Guinea’s newly appointed Minister of Mines & Hydrocarbons, Antonio Oburu Ondo, has been building on the efforts of his predecessor, Gabriel Obiang Lima, to create a fast-track environment when it comes to approving oil and gas operations and adapting fiscal regimes to encourage investments.

Last week, he was in Houston meeting with oil and gas companies who may be interested in investing in the West African nation.

Among the companies present were APA Corporation and ShaMaran Petroleum.

Vaalco has a 60% stake in Block P, with Nigerian independent Atlas Petroleum on 20% and state-owned Gepetrol holding 20% carried interest.