Oil has been found off the coasts of Liberia and Sierra Leone, energy companies have announced.
African Petroleum and Anadarko say further tests are needed to see how commercially viable the finds are.
Nevertheless, hopes have been raised that an oil bonanza could spur growth in the West African states – still recovering from civil wars.
Drillers rushed to the region five years ago when one of Africa’s biggest oil fields was discovered off Ghana.
Liberia and Sierra Leone have been eager to develop their mining and energy industries after years of conflict hindered investment and left infrastructure in ruins.
The government of Sierra Leone issued a statement congratulating Anadarko.
This is the second oil field Andarko has found off Sierra Leone.
Liberia has also welcomed the latest discovery – but urged patience.
“It will take time to fully appraise this discovery,” Liberia National Oil company head Randolph McClain said on local radio, according to Reuters news agency.
“And years – between five to seven years – before a drop of oil is produced from the well.”
Further west, Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer.
offshore Sierra Leone.
Jupiter is the group’s third discovery in the Liberian basin and “provides further support for the stratigraphic play in the region. The presence of a working petroleum system producing gas and light oil in the basin is encouraging,” said partner Tullow Oil PLC.
The group is drilling Kosrou-1 off Ivory Coast and will further test the play by drilling Mercury-2 off Sierra Leone.
Jupiter went to a total depth of 6,465 m in 2,199 m of water more than 25 km west of the group’s Mercury oil discovery. Jupiter cut 30 m of hydrocarbon pay in the primary Upper Cretaceous objective and did not encounter a hydrocarbon-water contact. The well is preserved for possible reentry as further evaluation is likely needed.
The Transocean Discoverer Spirit drillship will move 15 km northeast of Jupiter to drill Mercury-2, which will target several reservoir levels including extensions of the oil accumulations discovered by the Mercury-1 well.
Anadarko is operator of Block SL-07B-11 with 55% interest. Repsol YPF has 25%, and Tullow has 20%.
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT: PRESS RELEASE
OIL DISCOVERY OFFSHORE SIERRA LEONE
ANADARKO PETROLEUM CORPORATION TODAY ANNOUNCED THE JUPITER-1 DISCOVERY WELL OFFSHORE SIERRA LEONE ENCOUNTERED APPROXIMATELY 98 NET FEET (30 METRES) OF HYDROCARBON PAY IN UPPER CRETACEOUS-AGE RESERVOIRS. THE JUPITER-1 WELL IS LOCATED IN OFFSHORE BLOCK SL-07B-11 MORE THAN 15 MILES (25 KILOMETERS) FROM THE MERCURY-1 DISCOVERY WELL. ANADARKO OPERATES BLOCK SL-07B-11 WITH A 55 PERCENT WORKING INTEREST. CO-OWNERS IN THE BLOCK INCLUDE REPSOL EXPLORACION SIERRA LEONE, S.L. (25-PERCENT WORKING INTEREST) AND TULLOW SIERRA LEONE B.V. (20 PERCENT WORKING INTEREST). JUPITER-1 IS THE COMPANY’S THIRD DEEP WATER WELL, AND WAS DRILLED TO A TOTAL DEPTH OF APPROXIMATELY 21,212 FEET (6,465 METRES) IN WATER DEPTHS OF APPROXIMATELY 7215 FEET (2,199 METRES) ON THE SIERRA LEONEAN SIDE OF THE SIERRA LEONE/LIBERIA BASIN.
ANADARKO HAS CONFIRMED THAT THE JUPITER-1 DISCOVERY ALSO DEMONSTRATES THE PRESENCE OF A WORKING PETROLEUM SYSTEM GENERATING AND PRESERVING HIGH QUALITY OIL AND GAS.
THE GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE CONGRATULATES ANADARKO AND ITS PARTNERS INVOLVED IN THE JUPITER DISCOVERY AND LOOKS FORWARD TO THEIR CONTINUED COLLABORATION WITH THE SIERRA LEONE PETROLEUM DIRECTORATE TO ACCELERATE APPRAISAL ACTIVITY IN ORDER TO ASCERTAIN COMMERCIALITY FOR FUTURE PRODUCTION OF OIL AND GAS IN SIERRA LEONE.
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21ST FEBRUARY, 2012