A consortium of oil companies led by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday they have made an oil find offshore Sierra Leone that potentially opens up a new, 1,100 km-wide, multibillion-barrel oil frontier in West Africa.
Houston-based Anadarko said in a statement that the Venus B well confirmed the existence of an active petroleum system offshore Sierra Leone, and raised hopes for the more than 30 other prospects the explorer has in that part of West Africa.
“It certainly will drive additional activity in the basin,” Bob Daniels, Anadarko's Senior Vice President, Worldwide Exploration told a conference call with analysts and reporters.
Spain's Repsol, Australia's Woodside Petroleum and British-based Tullow Oil also have stakes in the block.
“Venus could contain around 200 million barrels of oil, making it a very significant discovery,” Ben Dell, oil analyst at Bernstein said, using the Jubilee field in Ghana, which has analogous geology, as a guide.
However, Anadarko and its partners believe the field could be one of a string of reservoirs that stretch from Ghana to Sierra Leone, across the Ivory Coast and Liberia.
“The significance of Venus-B's success is that it would ... bring into play a whole series of prospects that could mirror Jubilee in size,” Richard Griffith at Evolution Securities said.
The Jubilee field in Ghana has a resource potential of up to 1.8 billion, Tullow, Europe's largest independent oil explorer by market value, has said.
“There should be no doubt about the potential of the west coast and ... of course the reported Sierra Leone offshore find goes to prove that,” said Thomas Manu, Director of Exploration and Production, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
Anadarko said it would start drilling offshore the Ivory Coast once it finished at the Venus B site.
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