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Afren prepares Africa drilling spree

By on July 24, 2011

Pan-African independent Afren plans to participate in wells in wide-ranging basins offshore West and East Africa.

In Cote d’Ivoire’s offshore C1-01 concession (Afren 65%), technical evaluation of the Kudu field has been completed. This follows earlier studies of the Ibex field.

Afren and partners intend to acquire a new block-wide 3D seismic grid to expand its contiguous data set, with a view to defining appraisal drilling locations for discoveries on the acreage.

In Ghana’s offshore Keta block, the Ghanaian government has approved the transfer of a 35% interest from Afren to Eni. The partners plan to drill an exploration well on the 325-MMbbl Cuda prospect later this year.

The well was provisionally set to spud this summer, using the semisub Marianas. However the rig apparently incurred damage during mobilization earlier this month, and this will impact the spud date.

Under the terms of the farm-down Afren will be carried through drilling of one exploration well, back costs, and future seismic acquisition with a milestone bonus payable on first oil.

In the Nigeria São Tomé & Príncipe JDZ block 1 (Afren 4.41%), new operator Total aims to reprocess existing seismic and has proposed drilling one appraisal well this year on the Obo discovery and one exploration well next year.

Offshore Nigeria, a multi-component ocean bottom cable (OBC) 3D seismic survey is under way across the broader Ebok/Okwok/OML 115 area. The data should assist with field development planning and placement of one further appraisal well.

Afren expects seismic acquisition to conclude in September, and to spud an appraisal well late 2011 / early 2012, followed by formal submission of a development plan for the Okwok field in mid-2012.

In Nigerian offshore license OML 115 (Afren 100%/40%, pre/post cost recovery economic interest), interpretation of seismic across the area is in progress. A planned exploration well will likely spud late this year.

One target is the 60-MMbbl Ufon prospect, interpreted to have oil prospectivity in the same D series reservoirs proven to be oil bearing at the nearby Ebok and Okwok fields.

Offshore Kenya, Afren holds 100% of the L17/L18 permit, where a 400-km (248-mi) 2D seismic acquisition program was completed last year. Numerous newly defined prospects and leads have since been identified on the acreage.

Afren intends to acquire further 2D seismic over parts of the blocks this year 2011 and in deeper water parts of the block, and hopes to start exploration drilling by year- end, depending on rig availability.

Due to the geographical proximity and geological similarities between Kenyan blocks L17/L18 and the Tanga block offshore Tanzania, the company is contemplating co-ordinating future drilling plans across the blocks.

Afren acquired a 74% operated interest in Tanga in March, and immediately undertook and completed a 751-km (466-mi) shallow water 2D seismic program.

Early results have provided strong definition of several large-scale prospects and leads that had already been identified, and of new zones with additional potential. If a rig can be secured, the partners aim to start exploration drilling this year, and to acquire more deepwater seismic over the block.

In Seychelles blocks A,B,C (Afren 75%), seismic acquired to date by the partners has revealed the presence of several large-scale structures in all three licence areas, and new basins that could contain significant Jurassic sedimentary sections.

A tender process is under way as a precursor to acquiring new seismic during the second half of 2011 over all three blocks, ahead of exploration drilling in 2012/13.

Finally, in South Africa’s offshore block 2B (Afren 25%), the near-term work program involves acquiring 350 sq km (135 sq mi) of new 3D seismic, reprocessing existing 2D seismic, and ongoing seismic inversion and regional biostratigraphy studies ahead of expected exploration drilling in 2012.