Oil and gas company Sasol Petroleum Temane was this year named the best income tax payer for 2015 in the large companies section by the Mozambique Revenue Authority.
The yearly event, held in March, was chaired by Mozambique Minister of Economy and Finance Adriano Maleiane and revenue authority chairperson Amelia Nakhare issued certificates of recognition to the top tax payers this week.
Sasol’s commitment to Mozambique began well over a decade ago, when, together with its partners, Mozambique oil and gas company Companhia Moçambicana de Hidrocarbonetos and promoter of private sector investment in Africa International Finance Corporation, it developed the Pande/Temane natural gas project. This project pioneered the monetisation of the Pande and Temane gasfields, which had been effectively ‘stranded’ for over 30 years.
The natural gas project has resulted in significant benefits flowing into Mozambique, with the investment unlocking the country’s natural wealth and providing a platform for much-needed foreign investment, economic growth, skills and social development, notes Sasol Petroleum Temane.
Operations Assisted By High-Tech ‘Cyber’ Drill Rig
In September, Engineering News reported that one of the highest-technology drill rigs yet to be deployed in Africa had been put into operation in Temane, as part of Sasol’s $1.4-billion investment to develop the 16 wells there and expand its central processing facility (CPF) in Mozambique.
The bulk of the gas currently produced from these fields is processed at the CPF and transported along the 865 km Rompco pipeline to South Africa, where Sasol uses it to produce electricity, fuel and chemicals and sells the balance to some 320 industrial customers. But, as part of the recently approved production sharing agreement, the Mozambique authorities have indicated that the additional gas should be used to fuel a 400 MW gas-to-power plant to be developed near the CPF.
The rig – known as SMP-105 and part of French drilling specialist Societe de Maintenance Petroliere’s (SMP’s) rig fleet – is the most sophisticated ever contracted by Sasol. Sasol drilling operations manager Hector Magagule notes that he worked with such equipment during his in-field training in Oman some ten years ago. However, he highlights that the group’s previous campaigns in Mozambique, which took place between 2003 and 2011, all relied on older-generation mechanical rigs, which did not have the intelligence or power of the SMP-105.
Manufactured in Houston, Texas, by engineering group Jelec, the rig is large, standing at just over 34 m, with a power rating of 2 000 hp. However, it is built to a modular design, which makes its assembly less daunting and physi-cally demanding than that of a traditional rig.
The rig’s sophistication lies in the level of automation and remote control that has been integrated into the design, elevating the SMP-105 to the level of a so-called cyber rig. Drilling operation takes place with the operator sitting in a control room, using a joystick and touchscreen technology to perform vertical and horizontal drilling tasks deep below surface.
The rig is also continually collecting data as drilling advances, which will be used to guide the way Sasol and its contractors approach the remaining wells that will be drilled as part of the development of gas reserves in Temane and Pande, as well as oil prospects in Inhassoro. The rig is also connected to SMP’s command centre in France, from where technical support and troubleshooting services can be provided.
The rig also incorporates an automated pipe-handling and racking system, while the rig floor is equipped with a spill-containment system that collects any leaked drilling fluid and returns it to the fluid tanks, making it as safe as possible to operate.
The development field team – which comprises about 200 people – are preparing drill sites for eventual production. The entire campaign, which also includes one exploration well some 200 km away from the Temane, Inhassoro and Pande development areas, is expected to continue until around September 2018.