Top Five Oil Rigs Operating in Africa

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With targets currently in place to meet a larger share of the global market, Africa’s top oil producing countries are seeking solutions to increase investment in the oil sector and tap into the continent’s 125.3 billion barrels of oil reserves.

Taking advantage of Africa’s vast resources has been a top priority for some of the continent’s largest oil producers, with the industry relying heavily on the performance of high-quality oil rigs – platforms that are used to identify reservoirs and extract crude oil from on- and offshore oil fields.

Namibia: Crown 750 Drilling Rig

The Crown 750 Drilling Rig – rated at 1,000 horsepower and equipped with two CAT 540 horsepower diesel engines – was acquired by Canadian oil and gas company, ReconAfrica, in 2020 to drill its onshore PEL 73 asset in the Kavango Basin in northeastern Namibia. At an initial cost of $1.8 million, the Crown 750 is rated to drill 12,000 vertical feet and is equipped with what is considered the world’s best top drive system and ancillary equipment for drilling in the Kalahari Desert. The self-propelled rig is powered by a Series 60 MTU engine and Allison 6610 Auto Transmission and features a hook load of 160,000 kgs.

Angola: Benguela-Belize Lobito-Tomboco Platform

Situated in Angola’s Block 14 concession, approximately 512 meters off the southern African country’s Cabinda Coast, the Benguela-Belize Lobito-Tomboco Platform is a drilling production platform owned and operated by supermajor, Chevron. With a production rate of 220,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), the drilling platform is situated in water depths of 390 meters in the lower Congo Basin and features Africa’s first compliant piled tower – a fixed rig used for the offshore production of oil – as well as the world’s largest single-piece piles ever installed – a foundation element for offshore structures. The platform remains the largest Chevron-operated topsides with an operating weight of 43,500 short tons.

Libya: Bouri NC-41 DP4 Platform

Operating in the Bouri Offshore Field’s Block NC-41 in the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Libyan coast, the DP4 Platform is permanently moored to the field’s Floating Storage and Offloading vessel with storage capacity of approximately 1.5 million barrels, and together with its satellite platform, the DP3 is able to produce 150,000 bpd for export. Considered the biggest of its kind in the Mediterranean region, the Bouri oil field is situated in water depths of between 145 meters and 183 meters and consists of 38 wells.

South Africa: Island Innovator Rig

With plans to spud the Gazania-1 well in Block 2B offshore South Africa in Q3 2022, the Island Innovator Rig is a heavy well intervention vessel, equipped to operate in water depths ranging from 60 meters to 600 meters for drilling and 1,200-meter water depth for well intervention. The rig is a 6th generation, GM4000 WI enhanced design and was acquired by oil and gas exploration company, Eco Atlantic in early-2022. With an overall length and width of 104.5 meters and 65 meters, respectively, the Island Innovator has a carrying capacity of 11,500 tons.

Senegal: Ocean BlackRhino Drillship

Built in 2014 by Hyundai Heavy Industries, the Ocean BlackRhino is an ultra-deepwater drillship oil rig with water depth capabilities of up to 12,000 feet and drilling depth capabilities up to 40,000 feet. Operated by Woodside Energy, the Ocean BlackRhino is currently located offshore Senegal, having started drilling the first of 23 planned wells for Phase 1 of the Sangomar field development in mid-2021. Measuring an overall length of 229.22 meters with a width of 36 meters, the rig’s carrying capacity is 34,907 tons. Woodside Energy will target 231 million barrels of crude oil from the Sangomar field, located 100 km south of Senegal’s capital city of Dakar.

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Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen is a Video Editor and Content Writer at Energy Capital & Power. He holds an Honours Degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and is currently undergoing his Masters Degree. Born in Pretoria and raised internationally, he has been living in Cape Town since 2013.

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