* 2012 budget forecast errs on conservative side
* Two new wells due to come on line in Q1 2012
* Oil remains Cameroon’s top export earner
By Tansa Musa
YAOUNDE, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Cameroon could produce some 36.5 million barrels of oil next year, the equivalent of 100,000 barrels a day and over 50 percent up on the “conservative” estimate of the central African state’s 2012 budget, a state oil company official told Reuters.
The senior National Hydrocarbons Corporation (SNH) official said two new wells were expected to go into production during the first quarter of 2012.
“What you are seeing in the finance bill is just a very conservative estimate,” said the official who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to reporters.
“Two oil wells were supposed to have gone into production this year but were delayed for technical reasons. But I can assure (you) that all measures have been taken to make sure the two go operational in the first quarter of next year.”
He cited an expected production start at the Dissoni field formerly operated by Total E&P in the Rio del Rey basin close to the Nigerian border with an intial output of 15,000 bpd, for reserves estimated at 25 million barrels.
He further pointed to an expected increase in output from the Moudi and Ebome Marine concessions operated by independent oil firm Perenco in the Douala/Kribi-Campo basin with an initial production of 10-12,000 barrels, for reserves estimated at 20 million barrels.
Asked to comment, Perenco, which took over Total E&P concessions in Rio del Rey last April, said the Dissoni field would stabilise production at 40,000 bpd by around mid mid-2012.
“Perenco is pressing ahead with plans to develop the Dissoni North discovery made in 2005,” it said in a written statement sent to Reuters in Yaounde.
“Dissoni North will stabilise operated production at 40,000 bopd by around mid-2012, and is thus of major economic importance for Cameroon.”
On Moudi and Ebome Marine, the company stated: “As part of an overall programme to optimise production, Perenco maintains an active well work-over programme on the Moudi field ... At Ebome Marine, Perenco has constantly offset the natural decline by an aggressive programme of satellite developments.”
The SNH official noted that initially Cameroon’s oil output was seen at less than 60,000 bpd in 2010 but ended at 64,000 bpd. In 2011 it was initially slated at 55,000 bpd but is now seen hitting 65,000 bpd.
Cameroon became a modest oil-exporting country in 1977 with production peaking at 185,000 bpd in 1986, before declining steadily since then due to maturing fields.
However, despite the sharp drop, crude oil remains the country’s leading export product, accounting for about 45 percent of its foreign exchange earnings today. (Editing by Keiron Henderson)