Tullow: Ethiopia Is A Recurring Duster

..But the partners will drill one more well in East Africa’s most populated country

Tullow Oil has plugged and abandoned the second dry hole in Ethiopia in six months. Africa Oil Corp is currently drilling one well and Tullow will drill a third well in the country in 2014. What are the prospects for Ethiopia joining the continent’s hydrocarbon producing league? They certainly don’t look amazing.

The wildcat Tultule-1, which reached a total depth of 2,101 metres, was drilled in the country’s onshore South Omo block, the same tract on which the Sabisa-1 well –plugged in June 2013-was drilled. Tultule-1 targeted a reservoir section similar to the sands in which Sabisa-1 encountered some oil shows and heavy gas indications, but those sands were not penetrated in Tultule-1. Tullow and partners (Africa Oil, 30% and Marathon, 20%) hope that the gas shows recorded in Tultule-1 “ reaffirm the presence of a hydrocarbon source in the region”.
The companies say “the results of both the Sabisa-1 and the wells will now be analysed to determine the future exploration campaign for the area”.

Sabisa-1 and Tultule-1 are located in the northern portion of the Turkana Basin, 300km north of the Ngamia and Twiga discoveries. Tullow and Co are optimistic that the wells are part of the entire Turkana Basin hydrocarbon system. The partners were particularly upbeat about Sabisa-1, which was finalized after a technically challenging drilling operation: “The well encountered reservoir quality sands, oil shows and heavy gas shows indicating an oil prone source rock and a thick shale section”.

Outside of Tullow’s operated drilling, Africa Oil Corp., on its own, is drilling another well in Ethiopia. El Kuran-3, in the country’s Block 8 had drilled to 1978 meters by the first week of December 2013 and it had encountered “wet gas and oil shows“ in a 1200 metre section of Jurassic Hamenlei carbonates, with some interbedded sands and anhydrite. “A decision has also been taken to deepen the well below the planned target depth to evaluate the deeper Gumboro zone which has significant gas condensate potential”, Africa Oil Corp. remarks in a statement.

In spite of these difficulties and disappointment, Tullow and Co will move the OGEC rig to the Chew Bahir basin to drill the Shimela prospect in the eastern portion of the South Omo block, “where new seismic has delineated a number of exciting new prospects, some of which have encouraging seismic amplitude anomalies”, Tullow announces in a release. “The well is expected to spud at the end of the first quarter of 2014”.


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