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Mozambique: Gas discovery with first deep-water well

The discovery is likely to prompt operators to begin drilling before expiry of their licences

The find is likely to encourage Eni and Statoil, operators of the two neighbouring blocks, to start drilling work before the expiry of the first phase of their licences, which, with Anadarko's, were awarded in 2006 under the country's second bidding round.

Anadarko said its Windjammer-1 well, drilled off the northernmost part of the coast in Area 1, found 146 metres of net gas in a 366-metre column, in "high-quality reservoir sands". Drilling, by the Belford Dolphin drillship, was continuing last month to test deeper objectives. Water-depth at location, about 40 km offshore, was 1,464 metres.

The company said 3-D seismic has shown about 50 leads and prospects in Area 1, which extends about 160 km south from the border with Tanzania and out to about 55 km offshore. Anadarko will be moving the drillship to the southern part of the block for the next well, into the Collier prospect, and said it is budgeting for an additional two to four wells in the basin this year. The licence carries a seven-well commitment.

Area 1 was awarded to Anadarko on a 100% basis, but the firm has taken in partners to give the following interests: Anadarko, 43.0%; Mitsui, 23.5%; Indian firms BPRL Ventures (part of Bharat Petroleum), 11.75%, and Videocon, 11.75%; and the UK's Cove Energy, 10.0%. State-owned Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos has a carried 15.0%. The other blocks under licence in the offshore Rovuma basin are Eni's Area 4, Statoil's Areas 2 and 5, and Petronas' Areas 3 and 6, while Anadarko also holds a licence covering the onshore part of the basin. Further south, in the Mozambique basin, the main operator is South African Sasol, which holds Areas 16 and 19 and the onshore Pande and Temane production licences. Since early-2004, gas from the Pande and Temane fields has been exported through a 26 inch, 865 km pipeline to Secunda, South Africa, where it enters Sasol's distribution network.

Anadarko's discovery should add interest to the country's fourth licensing round, which opened in November and offers seven onshore areas. Applications close on 30 April.

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