Oil companies engaged offshore Mauritania today announced that new explorations were to be initiated within few weeks, including on fields never explored before.

Oil companies engaged offshore
Mauritania today announced that new explorations were to be initiated within
few weeks, including on fields never explored before. The first commercial
oil production ever in Mauritania ‘is on schedule’ to start in early 2006,
the companies further confirmed.
Australia’s Woodside, Britain’s
Premier Oil and Mauritania’s Roc Oil today all issued press releases announcing
new joint exploration efforts off the Mauritanian coast. Three exploratory
wells would commence drilling in late July, the companies announced.

Two of these wells, Sotto and Colin, were to ‘target relatively high risk
but potentially high reward prospects’ in PSC Area A; an area were commercial
oil discoveries yet have to be made. The companied thus are hoping to make
totally new discoveries in the promising waters off Mauritania.

The third well, Espadon, is set to target ‘a medium risk, moderate reward
prospect’ close to the Tiof Discovery in PSC Area B. The Tiof Discovery
is already declared commercially viable but companies hope that more oil
deposits can be mapped before a final decision is being made on how and
when to start production at Tiof.

With three new drilling projects starting in July, Mauritania is consolidating
its position as a promising investment area for the world’s oil industry.
According to Premier, Woodside and Roc Oil, a further two wells in PSC A
or B were ‘likely before the end of the year.’ Subsequent announcements would
be made later, concerning these wells.

Mauritania yet has to become a commercial oil producer, but development
approval for the country’s largest known field so far, the Chinguetti field,
were given in May last year. According to Premier Oil, developments on Chinguetti
are ‘on schedule for first production in early 2006,’ at approximately 75,000
barrels of oil per day.

The Chinguetti field lies only 25 kilometres to the south of the Tiof field,
which again lies some 75 kilometres west of Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital.
The Espadon well, where drilling will start in a few weeks, only lies some
ten kilometres west of the Tiof field.

The ‘high risk’ wells Sotto and Colin are located in an area that so far
has not been explored by drillships. The two wells are at about 200 meters
depth, located some 40-50 kilometres off the Mauritanian coast, midway between
Nouakchott and the Senegalese border. Only once before, at the failed Dorade-1
exploration well even further south, have Mauritanian waters south of Nouakchott
been explored.

A possible discovery at Sotto or Colin – which the engaged oil companies
expect to be large-size – would have considerable consequences for the new
oil sector in Mauritania. It also gives enhanced hope for further explorations
south of the Senegalese border, where experts claim geological conditions
are favourable for possible oil deposits.

The operations offshore Mauritania are mainly run by Woodside Mauritania,
a wholly-owned subsidiary of Australia-based Woodside, which is the operator
of the all the three blocks where oil is actively sought. Other main players
include the Hardman Group, the BG Group and Petronas. Minor interests are
held by Groupe Project Chinguetti, Premier Oil, Roc Oil and Fusion.

Source : www.afrol.com