LONDON Dec 2 Oil drillers hoping pre-salt
discoveries in west African waters may match the prolific finds
beneath similar deposits off Brazil got a lift on Monday from
the drilling results of the Lontra 1 well offshore Angola.
Cobalt International Energy said the drill stem test
results were "exceptional, with excellent quality reservoirs
that are better than we had expected".
Drilled to a depth of 4,195 metres (13,843 feet) and
penetrating some 75 metres of net pay, Cobalt said that "while
further appraisal drilling will be required to determine the
ultimate size of the Lontra field, it is clear that Lontra is a
discovery on a global scale.
"The exceptional reservoir system that we have discovered
ranks among the best that we have seen."
The well indicated a bigger gas content than the oil-seeking
partnership between operator Cobalt (40 percent), BP Plc
and Angola's state company Sonangol (30 percent) had been
anticipating, Cobalt said. But this was not a problem given that
Lontra is offshore near the Angolan capital Luanda, where there
may be an emerging market for the gas.
For Cobalt, whose stock has underperformed due to
uncertainty over the drilling result, the announcement is "a
clear positive relative to current share price and market
sentiment", said a Deutsche Bank research note which said the
field could contain 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe).
Investors are stepping up the hunt for hundreds of billions
of dollars worth of oil beneath a deep submerged salt crust
offshore West Africa, seeking to emulate Brazil's major
discoveries across the Atlantic.
Geologists have long held that Africa's western seabed
mirrors that of South America. The continents were fused into a
single plate nearly 200 million years ago.