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 This interview was originally published in the Africa Energy Series: Equatorial Guinea book.

 François Raux, COO of Trident Energy

Trident Energy is a new entrant to Equatorial Guinea. In October 2017, in partnership with operator Kosmos Energy, the company entered three exploration blocks (EG-21, S and W) and acquired the Ceiba and Okume producing fields from Hess Corp. Trident Energy is backed by private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Tell us about Trident Energy and its partnership with Equatorial Guinea for blocks EG-21, S and W and the Ceiba and Okume fields.

At Trident Energy we have had the exciting opportunity to build our company from the ground up. We are flat in structure, entrepreneurial and nimble; we have no unnecessary layers or barriers to clear decision-making. And we never forget that the success of any business is hard-wired to the satisfaction of all its stakeholders.

We are a trusted and productive partner that generates important national revenues. We do not operate remotely  our project leaders and their families relocate in country, as we fulfill our role as a major contributor to the local economy. Trident Energy is an expert partner creating sustainable subsidiaries, and working with integrity, skill and safety.

The Trident Energy management team has 100 years’ cumulative exploration and production experience, 80 of those with Perenco and 50 in senior management. The team has operated more than 450,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of production across 15 countries in Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia and has managed a number of merger and acquisition transactions.

What does Trident Energy bring to its partnership with Kosmos Energy?

Our skills lie in taking over assets and offering them a new life by finding undiscovered efficiencies to increase production. We reappraise them with forensic attention to detail and creative thinking. We leverage the existing infrastructure to redevelop the fields and give them a new future.

The Ceiba and Okume oilfields are mature producing fields. What plans do you have to optimize production and what technologies will be implemented?

The fields are producing using early-enhanced oil recovery techniques where water injection and gas lift through very simple well designs. We have a systematic approach that starts at the bottom of each well and follows the oil and gas flow until the final export point. We also want to install electrical submersible pumps, which will allow us to produce heavier fluids and increase the volumes produced. This will come with an investment effort to increase the water injection.

How many prospects and leads have you identified thus far and how much do you plan to invest in the exploration of blocks EG-21, S and W?

In our view, the three blocks are under explored and our first step is to shoot roughly 5800 km2 of new 3D seismic. It would be premature to talk about the leads and prospects, as we still want to rework the basin, however, the capabilities that Kosmos Energy is bringing to the partnership and the fact that some key managers were actually part of the team that discovered the Ceiba and the Okume fields tells us that we are the perfect team to revitalize the area.

This first step will represent an initial investment in excess of $20 million.

Do you believe the Rio Muni Basin shows significant further promise?

Both Kosmos and Trident believe that Rio Muni is underexplored compared to adjacent basins. With the crossed approach from the exploration perspective, narrowing the basin to the blocks and expanding our well and reservoir knowledge of the producing assets into the wider exploration blocks, we are giving ourselves the best chance to make interesting discoveries and revitalize the Rio Muni Basin.

What are your future plans in Equatorial Guinea?

We plan to grow organically, we are working hard to improve production and find or access new reserves within the existing blocks. The development of new discoveries is also part of the expectations of our partnership. As to external growth, it could always happen, but it is probably early to start talking about it.

What would be your message to oil and gas sector investors considering doing business in Equatorial Guinea?

We would say they must come and join us. The country is entering a second breath of development, not only in the energy sector. The potential for growth benefits from the opening of new trade routes in the subregion, and the unique geographical position of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea at the crossroads of these routes makes it the perfect place to do business.

This interview was originally published in the Africa Energy Series: Equatorial Guinea book.

 François Raux, COO of Trident Energy