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Eland to start next phase at Nigeria oil well

ELAND Oil & Gas has said it expects to start production in Nigeria shortly after experiencing delays with a scheme to redevelop a field that was shut in by Royal Dutch Shell amid security concerns.

Shares in the Aberdeen-based oil and gas independent rose 5% yesterday after Eland told investors it was in the final stages of work to revamp the facilities used to produce oil from the Opuama field.

"The rehabilitation work on the Opuama flowstation has now been completed and we have entered the pre-commissioning and testing phase, including the testing of the final section of the 12-inch export line," said the company.

"We expect commencement of production shortly following the successful completion of pre-commissioning and testing."

Eland had originally hoped to restart production from the field, on the OML 40 licence, in the summer of last year.

In August, the company said first oil had been delayed to October after it experienced delays in contracting services and local permitting.

In October, Eland said the start of production would be delayed until the end of the year.

The company said then it had been working closely with the state-owned Nigerian Petroleum Development Company "in a challenging operating environment" to repair infrastructure which had deteriorated since the site was closed in March 2006.

Analysts at joint house broker Cannacord Genuity expect Eland to produce up to 2500 barrels oil equivalent daily initially from the two original wells on the Opuama field.

The company acquired an interest in the ML40 licence in September 2012 in a deal with Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Nigerian Agip worth $154m (£94m).

Announcing the deal, Shell Nigeria said operations on the ML40 licence had been shut down since 2006 because of militant activity.

Shares in Eland Oil & Gas closed up 5p at 108p.

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