June 28 (UPI) -- African-focused explorer Tullow Oil said Thursday it was putting more rigs in place at its assets in Ghana with production trends testing in-place capacity.
"Tullow has performed strongly so far in 2018," Chief Executive Paul McDade said in a statement.
The company's oil production during the first quarter averaged 87,700 barrels of oil per day, led by gains from its Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme complex offshore Ghana. Tullow is still in the process of remediating problems with a floating production facility parked over the Jubilee field off the coast of Ghana, considered one of the larger finds in recent years.
A second rig, the Stena Forth, was contracted for a three-well drilling campaign starting in October. In an update on its outlook, the company said gross production from Jubilee during the first half of the year was on pace to average 65,700 bpd, which was slightly below expectations.
Problems with its FPSO kept operations idled for parts of the first half of the year. Further shutdowns are expected in the second half of the year as Tullow maneuvers infrastructure to its permanent position.
For the full year, Tullow said Jubilee production should be above what was earlier expected at 78,100 bpd for an average.
At Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme, or TEN, production trends for the first half of the year meant Tullow could increase its full-year guidance. A second well should be in production by the end of the year and test the 80,000-bpd design capacity of its floating infrastructure.
"The TEN FPSO has previously been tested at rates in excess of the 80,000 bpd design capacity and the vessel's ability to produce above this design capacity for long-term operations will be tested in 2019 as further wells come on stream," the company stated.
The company started the year with an upbeat assessment about its West African portfolio. RBC Capital Markets said in an emailed report Thursday it expects Tullow could do better than expected, especially if it advances on its assets elsewhere in Africa.
Spending plans for Tullow for 2018 remain unchanged at $460 million.
West Africa is emerging as one of the hot spots for new oil production. Disputes over maritime borders, however, could stifle the potential.
Talks between another company, African Petroleum, and the government in Senegal over offshore contracts collapsed without resolution. The company lodged a request for arbitration with the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in order to protect its interest.