Dry hole for Tullow off Namibia

Tullow Oil has encountered non-commercial hydrocarbons at its Cormorant-1 exploration well in the PEL-37 license, offshore Namibia, and the well is being plugged and abandoned.

Ocean Rig Poseidon; Image source: Pancontinental Oil & Gas

Tullow said on Monday that the Cormorant-1 exploration well has been drilled to a total depth of 3,855 meters and penetrated the objectives of the Cormorant prospect.

The well was spud in early September and drilled by the Ocean Rig Poseidon drillship in a water depth of 548 meters.

Tullow operates the PEL-37 license with a 35% equity and is partnered by ONGC Videsh (30%), Pancontinental Oil & Gas (30%) and Paragon (5%).

In a separate statement on Monday Pancontinental said that the Cormorant-1 exploration well is to be plugged and abandoned as a dry hole.

The well reached total depth on September 21, 2018, materially quicker than prognosed.

According to Pancontinental, the Early Cretaceous age Cormorant Submarine Fan target was encountered close to the predicted depth but no accumulated hydrocarbons were found. The Fan contained approximately 50m thickness of interbedded sands and claystones that were water-wet. Wet gas signatures, indicative of oil, were first encountered in the overlying shale section and persisted throughout the target interval, indicating that there has been significant hydrocarbon generation in the area.

Cormorant-1 is the first modern well to penetrate this stratigraphic section in PEL 37, (covering some 17,000Km2), and the Joint Venture is in the early stages of analyzing the results. The analysis will assist the geological understanding, and the associated discovery probability, of other prospects and leads in PEL 37, some of which have significantly larger resource potential than Cormorant.

Pancontinental also said that the well data supports the presence of at least one active source rock system, with encouraging implications for the range of play types mapped in the block, and in PEL 87.

Angus McCoss, Exploration Director, Tullow Oil, commented: “The Cormorant-1 frontier exploration well was a bold attempt to open a new oil play in this area of Tullow’s offshore Namibia acreage. Gas readings while drilling continue to support the concept that there is a working oil system in the area. As a result, following the conclusion of operations, we will analyse the data gathered before deciding on any future activity. While this is not the outcome that we had hoped for, the efficiency of our drilling and our risk management processes resulted in a low financial exposure to this well.”