The Australian operator drilling the Alameda-1 exploration well in Cuba has come across oil at an earlier-then-expected stage.

Oil shows consisting of relatively light oil were encountered from just below the casing point at 454 metres to the current depth of 1047 metres, with drilling mud weight increasing in response, said the operator Melbana Energy.

Moveable oil was not expected at these shallow depths and now represents an additional zone of interest.

Wireline logging is necessary to clarify the significance of the shows.

Drilling is continuing towards the first of the three mapped objectives - Amistad - with the deepest - Alameda - being the primary objective.

Melbana Energy’s executive chairman Andrew Purcell said: “The unexpected recovery of live oil at this shallow depth provides an additional potential oil zone in Alameda-1 and increases the prospectivity of other “Upper sheet” structures in the Block 9 PSC. We are encouraged for the chances of finding oil deeper in the well and are drilling on towards our primary objectives.”

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