Press release from Business Wire
Cobalt International Energy, Inc. Provides Operational Update on its West Africa and Gulf of Mexico Drilling Operations
Monday, August 19, 2013
Cobalt International Energy, Inc. Provides Operational Update on its West Africa and Gulf of Mexico Drilling Operations07:00 EDT Monday, August 19, 2013
HOUSTON (Business Wire) -- Cobalt International Energy, Inc. (“Cobalt”) (NYSE:CIE) today provided an update on its deepwater drilling operations in West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico, and announced that it has entered into a new rig contract.
In West Africa, the Total Gabon operated Diaman #1B well, drilled on the Diaba block in offshore Gabon, has reached its total depth of 5,585 meters (18,323 feet), and encountered approximately 50-55 meters (160-180 feet) of net hydrocarbons in the objective Pre-salt formations. The Diaman #1B well has successfully confirmed the existence of a working petroleum system. Early indications are that the discovered hydrocarbons are gas with condensate. A full analysis of the hydrocarbon encountered in the sandstone reservoirs will be conducted. The Diaman #1B well, located in 1,729 meters (5,673 feet) of water, is more than 100 km (62 miles) from the nearest Pre-salt commercial discovery and is the first test of the Pre-salt in deepwater Gabon. The well will be temporarily abandoned pending further technical and commercial analysis. Cobalt owns a 21.25 percent working interest in the Diaman #1B well.
Also in West Africa, Cobalt confirmed today that operations continue to progress on the Lontra #1 well in Block 20 and the Mavinga #1 well in Block 21, offshore Angola. Results from these wells are anticipated later in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter. Cobalt owns a 40 percent working interest and is the operator of both wells.
In the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Cobalt announced that its Ardennes #1 exploratory well in Green Canyon Block 896, which targeted both Miocene and Inboard Lower Tertiary reservoirs, reached its objective total depth of 36,552 feet (11,141 meters). While reservoir sands were encountered in the well, neither targeted zone contained commercial hydrocarbons. Cobalt, as operator, owns a 42 percent working interest in Ardennes.
In addition, on August 5, 2013, Cobalt executed a drilling contract with Rowan Reliance Limited, an affiliate of Rowan Companies plc, for the Rowan Reliance, a new-build, ultra-deepwater dynamically positioned drillship. This state-of-the-art deepwater rig, equipped with a 2.5 million pound hookload capacity and two seven-ram BOP systems, provides the robust drilling and safety capabilities needed to drill all of Cobalt's deepwater Gulf of Mexico wells, including Cobalt's Inboard Lower Tertiary exploratory wells and Cobalt's North Platte appraisal wells. The Rowan Reliance drillship will be capable of operating in water depths of up to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and drilling to measured depths of up to 40,000 feet (12,192 meters). The drilling contract provides for a firm three-year commitment, expected to begin in early 2015, at a day rate of approximately $602,000 (inclusive of mobilization fees) and two one-year extension options at day rates to be mutually agreed.
“The Diaman #1 well results represent an excellent start to the exploration of the emerging Pre-salt basin in deepwater Gabon”, said James W. Farnsworth, Cobalt's Chief Exploration Officer. “This discovery is a culmination of a five-year exploration program in which we and our partners have been successful in identifying and testing the initial phase of Gabon's Pre-salt potential. Combined with Cobalt's industry-leading deepwater Pre-salt position in offshore Angola, this offshore Gabon Pre-salt discovery further deepens our understanding of the West Africa Pre-salt margin. We look forward to additional drilling and evaluation activity on the Diaba license following the integration of these important well results.” Farnsworth further added, “While our Ardennes test did not discover commercial hydrocarbons, we were able to confirm our Inboard Lower Tertiary geologic model that predicted a high potential sand fairway. Our challenge now will be to apply what we've learned at Ardennes to further enhance our understanding of the Inboard Lower Tertiary play.”
Van Whitfield, Cobalt's Chief Operating Officer, said, “While disappointed with the Ardennes #1 well results, I am extremely proud of the organization's performance in safely drilling the deepest well drilled to date in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Cobalt remains very excited about our Gulf of Mexico prospect portfolio and the potential of the Inboard Lower Tertiary following our previously announced North Platte and Shenandoah discoveries. Our commitment to this basin is further evidenced by the long term drilling contract we recently executed with Rowan for the new ultra-deepwater Rowan Reliance drillship.”
Following operations on the Ardennes #1 well, the ENSCO 8503 rig will move to drill the Aegean #1 exploratory well in Keathley Canyon Block 163. Aegean #1 will test an Inboard Lower Tertiary prospect located 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Cobalt's North Platte discovery. Cobalt, as operator, owns a 60 percent working interest in Aegean.
Cobalt is an independent oil exploration and production company active in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico and offshore Angola and Gabon. Cobalt was formed in 2005 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 — that is, statements related to future, not past, events. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and include any statement that does not directly relate to a current or historical fact. In this context, forward-looking statements often address Cobalt's expected future business and financial performance, and often contain words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “expect,” “plan,” “will” or other similar words. These forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that ultimately may not prove to be accurate. Actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. For further discussion of risks and uncertainties, individuals should refer to Cobalt's SEC filings. Cobalt undertakes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after this press release, other than as required by law. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.
Cobalt International Energy, Inc.
Richard A. Smith, Vice President, Investor Relations, Compliance and Risk Management
Lynne L. Hackedorn, Vice President, Government and Public Affairs