Maersk Oil ditches Buckskin, keeps Chissonga

Danish oil company Maersk Oil has decided to relinquish its share in the Buckskin project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, citing its new strategy to focus on fewer geographical areas.

While moving away from the Buckskin in the U.S. Gulf, Maersk Oil, however, is not giving up on the Chissonga project in Angola, which it has been trying to develop for years now.

But, Buckskin first. Maersk oil has recently said that it would narrow its focus geograpy-wise, to gain scale in basins, particularly in the North Sea, especially after it had learned it would have to hand over the operatorship of the giant Al-Shaheen field in Qatar to Total in July 2017.

In its third-quarter report this week, Maersk Oil said it would exit the Repsol-operated Buckskin project in the Gulf of Mexico, citing the “fewer geographies” strategy, as well as “challenging economics.”

The Danish firm is following the lead of the former owner and operator of Buckskin, Chevron, which left the project in 2015, with Chevron CEO saying it was a tough call but “we’ve got better places to put our money.”

The Buckskin discovery was made by Repsol in 2009, in Keathley Canyon, 300 kilometers offshore Houston.

Joint development for Chissonga?

To remind, Maersk Oil earlier this year said it would downsize of its US and Angola organizations, citing challenging times for deepwater development.

The move resulted in the closure of the company’s Houston office and a reduction of the Luanda team, impacting approximately 100 staff positions in total across the two sites.

Despite the downsizing of the workforce in Angola, Maersk Oil said this week it continues the assessment of the possibility for a joint development between the Chissonga field and neighboring blocks in addition to negotiating with Angolan authorities, partners and contractors to reduce costs and improve terms to make the Chissonga project viable.

Maersk Oil entered Angola in 2005 through the acquisition of a stake in Block 16, where it has made the Chissonga discovery, declared commercial in 2011.

The Chissonga field is located in the western part of Block 16, some 130 kilometers offshore from the Soyo beach crossing, in a water depth ranging from 1,200 meters to 1,500 meters. It is Maersk Oil’s first operated deepwater discovery.

Maersk Oil holds a 65 percent interest in the deepwater Block 16 off Angola which covers some 4,900 square kilometers and with water depths up to 1,500 meters, with partners Odebrecht (15 percent) and state-owned oil company Sonangol (20 percent).

Back in 2014, around the time when the oil prices started to fall, it had been reported that Chissonga might come on stream in 2017/2018, however, this date is now far from reality at the current oil prices.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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