More woe for Ophir off Gabon

Well woe: For Ophir off Gabon with the Titanium Explorer

Ophir Energy has tasted disappointment at a wildcat off Gabon that was targeting an extension to the proven Ogooue delta play.

The Affanga Deep-1 well on the Gnondo Block, in which the London-listed explorer has a 100% stake, was drilled with the Vantage Drilling drillship Titanium Explorer to a depth of 4240 metres.

Although it targeted a number of reservoir intervals of Turnonian and Cenomanian age, the probe encountered thinner than expected sandstone sections with poor reservoir characteristics, Ophir said on Tuesday.

“Gas and indications of liquids were encountered during drilling but significant hydrocarbon shows were not encountered in the target formations,” it said.

“Cuttings have confirmed the presence of a Cenomanian oil prone source rock which may have positive implications for the prospectivity of the wider Ogooue Delta outboard play and for the deep-water play to the west of this location. Log and cuttings analysis is continuing.”

Ophir did not say the well was being plugged and abandoned as a dry hole.

The drillship will now move on to spud the Okala prospect on the Mbeli Block, with drilling expected to take 40 days.

This is the second failure for Ophir off Gabon this year, following on from the closely-watched Padouck Deep-1 pre-salt wildcat.

Drilled in the Ntsina licence, also by the Titanium Explorer, to a depth of 3297 metres, the probe hit thicker-than-expected Gamba and Coniquet-Dentale reservoir sands in a pre-salt section, but there were no significant hydrocarbon shows.

However, minor shows were interpreted at shallower intervals, providing evidence of a working hydrocarbon system in the North Gabon basin.

Well log responses in deeper pre-salt stratigraphy are similar to those observed onshore Gabon, where they are indicative of an interbedded pre-salt source and reservoir system, Ophir said at the time.

The operator attributed the well failure to a lack of seal and trap.

Mark Hederson, an analyst at Westhouse Securities, commented in a market note on Tuesday:"Ophir Energy shares have rallied some 10% in the past couple of weeks and now trades at an 8% premium to our core NAV (net asset value) of £2.38, which just reflects the cash on the balance sheet and the value of Ophir's remaining 20% stake in Blocks 1, 3 and 4 in Tanzania.

"Given the continued exploration disappointments, we would expect Ophir shares to retrace toward our core NAV in the near term."

Shares in Ophir were down around 6% at 8:30am on Tuesday.


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