Oil and Gas Exploration Company Cracow plc was founded in Poland in 1946. It has since grown from servicing the Polish oil industry to partnering with oil companies across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
An engineering, procurement and contracting firm, OGEC conducts exploration drilling with rigs that are hired out to oil companies, and also offers services such as drill stem testing, mud logging, directional drilling and cementing.
OGEC’s first venture into Africa came in 2002 when it signed a contract to drill exploration wells for Fusion Oil and Gas in Ghana. The next African contract was in Vilanculos, Mozambique where the company carried out exploration and production drilling and well workover for Sasol International Group.
Tullow Oil contracted OGEC’s IRI 750 drilling rig in February, 2008. The rig was shipped from Mozambique to Kenya and transported overland to Uganda, where it began to drill the first well – Taitai-1–in April, 2008. Since then, the rig has been deployed to drill the following wells: Ngenge-1, Karuka-1, Kasamene-1, Kigogole-1, Mputa-5, Karuka-2, Nsoga-1, Awaka-1, Kigogole-3, Wahrindi-1, and Ngara-1.
The work for Tullow Oil is carried out by 38 Polish specialists and local auxiliary staff trained by OGEC. Three Pakistani specialists (a doctor and two welders) are also currently working on the drilling rigs. The IRI 750 rig is now starting on another well, Nsoga-1, in the Butiaba oilfield.
In September 2008, the IRI 750 rig was also contracted to Heritage Oil. Over four months the company built three wells for Heritage: Warthog-1, Buffalo-1, and Giraffe-1.
In 2010, a second rig, IRI 600, was requested. Operations stopped briefly in 2011 over a tax dispute between the government and oil companies.
In 2011, OGEC was also contracted by Dominion, however, this well was dry and operations were suspended. OGEC has also partnered with Neptune in Uganda.
More recently, a third rig, IRI 100, was hired by Tullow in Ntorko District. In the farm-down deal earlier this year, OGEC briefly worked for all three oil companies – Total, Tullow and CNOOC. However, a few months later, their contract finished with CNOOC and the rig moved over to sites operated by Tullow.
Currently OGEC has one rig drilling for Tullow in Exploration Area 2, and two rigs drilling for Total in Exploration Area 2. Employment on each rig has roughly 33% local content due to the specialist nature of the drilling. OGEC aims to increase this share; however, this will take time as experience on the rigs is required in order to increase the skills of local employees. OGEC also sends its rig personnel for training in its Training Centre based in Cracow.
OGEC’s main competitor in Uganda is Weatherford. However, the rigs of the two companies have different specifications and so do not compete directly. Each rig commands different rates depending on their specifications. More specialised drilling techniques are required for certain locations and can increase the likelihood of striking oil.
Report by Chantal Sirisena