US-based energy firm VAALCO Energy today announced the start of production at the South East Etame 4H well offshore Gabon.

Drilling of the well included a 750 foot (230m) horizontal section. Operators brought the oil well online last week with an initial flow rate of around 2,200 barrels per day (bpd). At this flow rate, 600 bpd is net revenue interest to Vaalco’s 31.1% stake in the Etame Marin Block.

In February, the company predicted initial production of Etame 4H would be between gross 1,200bopd to 2,500bopd.

On the South East Etame 2H well, a workover is underway to replace electric submersible pumps (ESPs) in the well. The well stopped production on 7 March when the pumps broke, though replacement were already scheduled. The company said it expects production to resume by the end of this month.

The company will release the contracted drilling rig upon completion of operations on South East Etame 2H well.

Vaalco continues production

According to the company, operations have not yet been materially disrupted by the current worldwide Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Vaalco Energy CEO Cary Bounds said: “The drilling campaign has been transformational for Vaalco and has added meaningful production and cash flow with minimal increase in operating costs. This has helped to improve our margins and drive our operational breakeven down to $31 per barrel of realized pricing.

“Following the completion of the South East Etame 4H well, we began the planned workover on the South East Etame 2H well to replace ESPs. We expect to bring the South East Etame 2H well back online around the end of March, which should restore production of approximately 2,400 gross BOPD.”

Last month, Vaalco Energy spudded the South East Etame 4P appraisal wellbore and encountered oil, as part of its 2019-20 drilling campaign.

In December last year, Vaalco Energy completed Etame 9H well development on the Etame field.