Those who work in oil and gas are no strangers to remote and challenging environments. Oil rigs are typically found in difficult-to-reach locations around the globe, where they’re constantly battered by the elements.
Africa’s oil reserves are vast, standing at 125.3 billion barrels. In West Coast Africa, offshore oil rigs are scattered across the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, often far from the mainland. For executives and personnel, visiting these remote rigs is a complex operation, albeit a vital part of their work.
Number of oil rigs in West Africa
The number of offshore oil rigs in West Africa has fluctuated over the years due to the dynamics of the industry, economic factors, and geopolitical conditions. While the exact count may vary, Statista reported that West Africa had a total supply of 47 offshore oil and gas rigs in the week of June 16, 2023.
These rigs are distributed across several countries, with Nigeria, Angola, and Ghana being significant players in the West African oil industry. The number of rigs in each country may vary based on exploration and drilling activities. Nigeria, for instance, has consistently been one of the largest oil producers in the region, with multiple rigs operating in its offshore waters.
Where are oil rigs located in West Africa?
The offshore oil rigs in West Africa are strategically positioned along the coastline of multiple countries in the region. Some of the key areas where these rigs are located include:
- Nigeria: Oil exploration in Nigeria dates back to 1903. Figures released in the latest OPEC oil market report showed that Nigeria’s oil rig count rose from 13 in May 2023 to 14 in June. Indeed, Nigeria is a major player in the West African oil industry, and the country is a major exporter of oil to the US. Oil production is important for the economy of the country and accounts for about 9% of the entire GDP of the nation.
- Angola: Along with Nigeria, Angola is one of the most significant oil-producing countries in the whole of Africa. In fact, oil accounts for over 90% of Angola’s exports. Offshore oil production comes almost entirely from off the coast of Cabinda and deep-water fields in the Lower Congo Basin.
- Ghana: Ranking at 49th in the world, Ghana produces 99,114 barrels of oil per day. According to recent discoveries, there are indications that the country’s oil reserves stretch from Cape Three Points in the west to Keta in the east.
- Ivory Coast: In 2022, Italian hydrocarbon giant ENI announced the discovery of a new oil and natural gas reserve off the eastern coast of Ivory Coast at the Baleine field.
- Equatorial Guinea: In 1996, Equatorial Guinea discovered its large oil reserves, which transformed the country’s economy. Crude oil is mostly extracted from the Alba, Zafiro, and Ceiba regions.
Visiting offshore oil rigs in West Africa
In West Coast Africa alone, there are many offshore oil rigs that require regular attention from executives, engineers, and support staff. Visiting these remote rigs, however, presents unique logistical challenges.
Weather is one of the main challenges faced when transporting personnel to offshore rigs. Although there is a great deal more weather tracking equipment available to us now than ever before, weather at sea can’t always be predicted. To transport personnel to rigs as safely and efficiently as possible, there are a selection of transportation options available:
- Air charters: Private air transport is often used to fly executives, personnel, and even cargo to remote locations with limited infrastructure. The beauty of using an air charter service is that brokers can provide bespoke solutions that cater to the unique requirements of those working in the oil and gas industry.
- Helicopters: While an air charter can transport executives to locations near an offshore oil rig, aeroplanes can’t access oil rigs directly. Instead, helicopters are often used to transport personnel to the rig. They are ideal for short to medium-distance trips and can land directly on the rig’s helipad, allowing for quick access.
Crew boats: Another method for transporting personnel to oil rigs is the use of crew boats. These boats are equipped with the necessary safety measures and can be used for both emergency evacuations and routine transfers. Crew boats are especially useful when a helicopter landing is not possible due to rough weather.
As new exploration areas open up, fresh challenges arise, which means flexible and experienced air charter services are increasingly required. Airmacs Aviation understands the complexities associated with transporting executives and personnel to remote offshore oil rigs. If you’re looking for a reliable broker to ensure those working in the oil and gas industry reach their destinations safely and efficiently, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your unique requirements with our knowledgeable and experienced team.