Licence operator Shell - which has since taken over the French Guiana licence from Tullow - , is now drilling a new well in the same region, Zaedyus 2, with the Stena Drillmax ICE drillship.
This new well is aiming to prove up further reserves after the Zaedyus 1 well last year confirmed the belief that large petroleum deposits mirroring those found in deepwater offshore West Africa could be made off the north-east coast of South America.
London-listed Northern Petroleum says the Stena Drillmax, operated by Shell, spudded GM-ES-2, the second well on the Guyane Maritime permit, on 6th July.
Zaedyus 2 is being drilled updip of the Zaedyus-1 well and it is designed to appraise the existing discovery and test a deeper turbidite fan. The rig will then drill an exploration well in the Cingulata fan system. An extensive 3D seismic programme either side of the Cingulata fan system was due to commence this month 2012.
This well is targeting at least 300 million barrels of oil, Northern said today, citing Patrick Romeo, chief executive of Shell in France.
“Tullow's exploration director, Angus McCoss was quoted in the New York Times as having said the field could be larger than Jubilee, with 1 billion barrels or more of recoverable oil,” Northern's announcement today also indicated.
Zaedyus was drilled late 2011 in the same Guyane Maritime permit area offshore French Guiana, and encountered up to 72 metres (236 feet) of oil pay.
“We are pleased to be following up on the highly successful Zaedyus discovery so quickly. Through this project shareholders may benefit from this potentially very high impact event without any great cost exposures,” commenced Derek Musgrove, managing director of Northern today, adding: “I look forward to updating shareholders on progress.”
Tullow Oil, which operated the Zaedyus 1 exploration well, announced in September last year that the well had encountered good quality reservoir sands on prognosis in two turbidite fan systems with up to 75 metres (236 ft) of net oil pay. Zaedyus 1 was aiming at proving Tullow Oil's geological theory that the Jubilee field play offshore Ghana was mirrored on the other side of the Atlantic.
“This discovery therefore opens a new hydrocarbon basin within which several neighbouring prospects have been mapped,” Tullow stated then. “This result also reduces the exploration risk associated with Tullow's prospect inventory offshore French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana.”