Tullow preparing for Namibian wildcat after securing rig

UK-based Tullow Oil has secured an Ocean Rig-owned drillship and drilling preparations are well underway for an exploration well offshore Namibia with a target spud date of September 1, 2018.

The Cormorant-1 well is located in PEL 37 license off Namibia which is operated by Tullow with Pancontinental Oil & Gas, Africa Energy, Paragon, and ONGC Videsh as its partners.

As previously reported by Offshore Energy Today, the joint venture has contracted the Ocean Rig Poseidon for a one-well drilling program plus options for drilling offshore West Africa. The contract award was announced by Ocean Rig in late February without revealing any further details about the gig.

On Thursday, March 8 Pancontinental informed that, in order to drill the well, the joint venture was required to apply to the Ministry of Mines and Energy in Namibia for permission to enter the next phase of the license, the Second Renewal Exploration Period.

Permission has been granted and drilling preparations are well underway, Pancontinental said.

Pursuant to the farm-out by Pancontinental to operator Tullow Oil in 2013, the company will now be fully carried through the cost of drilling the Cormorant-1 well. The company holds its interest via its 66.7% owned subsidiary Pancontinental Namibia (PCN) that has a 30% interest in PEL 37.

The company will also be paid at spud of the well circa A$7 million by Africa Energy Corp as completion of its acquisition of a 33.3% interest in PCN.

Additionally, oil major ExxonMobil recently announced its farm-in into PEL 82 (adjacent to PCL’s PEL 37) for a 40% interest. This validates Pancontinental’s belief in the prospectivity and potential large size of oil resource targets in the area.

Commenting on the execution of the rig contract, Pancontinental CEO, John Begg, said: “This is a significant and very satisfying milestone for Pancontinental. First the joint venture unanimously selected the Cormorant Oil Prospect to drill, then the Namibian Government approved the program and now a high technology drillship has been contracted for the job. Roll on September.”

PEL 37 covers an area of 17,295 square kilometers in the northern Namibian offshore region. The Cormorant Prospect is located in the Walvis Basin in a water depth of approximately 550 meters.