Galen Treadgold, Executive Director from AMNI International Petroleum Resources at Africa E&P Summit 2019
Interview Conducted by Our Summit Journalist, Ed Reed
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ER: What is the advantage of operating offshore Nigeria?
GT: That’s our historical experience. It allows us to control our own world a little bit more. We’ve got an excellent relationship with the communities, just inboard from us and it always helps to work out of your backyard. For us that’s been a beautiful combination of an area that we’re used to working in, where we’ve got good relationships and we don’t have some of the complexities of the onshore
ER: And is there scope for expansion in that offshore space?
GT: Oh yes. As I said in my presentation, we’ll be drilling five to six wells starting in July and that will start a programme in the Tubu development that has another eight to 10 wells on the horizon. There’s a plan for chasing deeper reservoirs with some exploration opportunities and then the gas field development. It’s a long-term project for us and we’ll continue drilling for some months, maybe even years, but then production would go on for decades.
ER: In terms of the regulatory environment, how does Nigeria stack up?
GT: There’s plenty of challenges, no matter what country you’re working in. Our relationship with the government has been very good and there are a lot of hurdles to working in Nigeria in terms of environmental, permitting processes and the like. We’ve got a large team in Lagos that interacts on a daily basis with the government to make sure that we’ve crossed all our t’s and dotted all our i’s. It’s a challenge, it’s a significant effort to make sure that we’ve properly addressed all those issues, but we’ve been successful. It hasn’t delayed us in our projects.
ER: You moved into Ghana five years ago. How is that process going?
GT: Excellent. The advantage of being an indigenous African oil and gas company is that we can step in to opportunities much more rapidly than a company coming in cold, without the history that we have and the relationships. It’s gone very well and we’re looking at adding another country in the next four to six months – we’ll hope to have an announcement about that and we continue to look at new opportunities along that margin. AMNI is just starting to spread its wings across that area and growth is our focus.
ER: What’s the next step for exploration in Ghana?
GT: We got tripped up a bit with the [International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea] ITLOS issue, the border dispute that cut our block in half and it was a challenge to continue that operation in a timely fashion. The metaphor I like to use is that we were cooking the meal and had to turn the oven off and we can’t just turn the oven back on. You’ve got to take everything out of the oven, re-prepare it and put it back in again. We’ve done a tremendous amount of technical work there, we have our targets ready to go and we’re moving forward, but we’ve been challenged with some of the delays because of things out of our control.
GT: We need to find critical mass in our exploration programme to have a standalone project, you need to find a sizeable opportunity. We’ve identified plenty of small opportunities that would need to be plugged into the local infrastructure. In Ghana, we don’t run our own show, whereas in Nigeria we do, where we’ve got the infrastructure, we own the platform, we own the FPSO – so when we make a decision we can work it through our infrastructure. In Ghana, it’s frustrating to not have the control that we’d like to have. GNPC and the government has been supportive in recognising that. If we find something that won’t stand on its own, they’ll work with us to fit it into the surrounding infrastructure but really we have to hunt for elephants to achieve the standalone impact that we are seeking. That’s a real challenge because there aren’t that many giant opportunities in and around that margin, unless you go into new plays – and that’s what this well will be doing. AMNI’s first exploration well should begin drilling at the end of this year. For it to be economic, it will need to be a discovery of 200 million boe or more.
ER: What is your financing situation? Are banks supportive of what you might be doing?
GT: In our Nigeria projects, we’ve got a number of financial institutions supporting us. We also have funds for our Ghana operation. We’re still looking for partners to share the drilling costs but it’s not a requirement. We’re currently working with the government on a licence extension, which will keep us on track with our exploration efforts in Ghana.