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West Africa to benefit from GOM

Oilfield Technology,

Exploration and drilling for new deepwater oil sources is an industry that has received large amounts of attention from the public. The new perception of how difficult and dangerous deepwater drilling is has led to a number of changes when looking at the priority of distributions of funds. West Africa in particular is currently seeing the benefit of incidents such as the Gulf of Mexico becoming so public.

With the upstream industry seeing companies like JX Holdings all but running from the Gulf of Mexico region and Chinese national companies devoting investments to the West African region, executives have realised the need to come together and discuss the need to focus on safety when developing new deepwater drilling projects. The NG Oil and Gas Summit 2010 held in Ghana last week has become a leading venue for developing these topics more specifically.

The gathering saw executives like Dorothy Bassey, the Deputy Director for HSE at the Department of Petroleum Resources of Nigeria attending. Yassin Darwish, the HSE manager of Danagas Egypt pointed out that, “China has had a major impact in the region regarding financial resources, but have lagged behind with low quality equipment and unskilled people.”

Yassin added, “Emergency preparedness and crisis management for deepwater exploration are the hot issues after the GOM incident.” Yassin felt that funding could be redirected to focus on safer equipment, solutions and employee standards.

With China revealing recently that it is on track to have invested over US$ 100 billion into Africa as a whole while an additional 1600 private companies are increasing their presence in Africa, it is no wonder distribution of funding is such a hotly contested issue.

The past has seen a frictional relationship between effective deepwater exploration and safety standards, and while spills have gone hand in hand with riskier projects, the GOM incident seems to have a wider reach for lessons learned when looking at the global upstream industry. The development and direct action of these key issues, when looking at feasible deepwater exploration and safety standards, are highly discussed areas that have seen some dramatic adaptations to new projects in Africa, a highly unregulated industry. Private and public companies are looking to utilise these new areas to avoid the same mistakes experienced by BP.

Author: Daniel Reinhold-Shor, NG Online

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