* Well hits metamorphic basement at 3,430 meters
* Rig to be moved 3.5 km north of current location
* Horn Petroleum shares halve; partner Africa Oil falls 8
May 17 Horn Petroleum Corp has suspended
drilling at its Shabeel well in Somalia's Puntland and said it
will move the drilling rig away from the area before reaching
the planned depth of 3800 meters.
The well in the Dharoor valley hit a metamorphic basement at
a depth of 3,430 meters, Horn Petroleum said in a statement on
Thursday. Basement is the rock layer below which economic oil or
natural gas reservoirs are unlikely to be found.
Horn Petroleum's shares more than halved to 77 Canadian
cents on Thursday on the Toronto Venture Exchange.
The rig used to drill the Shabeel well will now be moved 3.5
kilometers north of the current location, the company said.
The well, which earlier hit a 12 to 20 meter hydrocarbon
pay, a measure of a reservoir's thickness, could hold up to 3
meters of additional potential hydrocarbon pay at a depth of
3,246 to 3,430 meters.
"They (the latest hydrocarbon pay) are not considered to
warrant testing at this time...," Horn Petroleum said.
Canada's Africa Oil Corp owns a 51 percent stake in
Horn Petroleum, which holds a 60 percent working interest in the
Dharoor and Nugaal blocks in Puntland -- a semi-autonomous
region in the northeast of Somalia.
Africa Oil began drilling an exploratory well in Puntland
region in January, the first to do so in the country since civil
war erupted two decades ago.
Somalia, mired in conflict since warlords and Islamist
militants reduced the government to impotence, represents one of
the final frontiers in Africa to be explored. The country has no
proven hydrocarbon reserves.
Horn Petroleum's other partners in the Dharoor and Nugaal
blocks are Australia's Range Resources Ltd and Red
Emperor Resources .
Africa Oil shares fell as much as 8 percent to C$6.70 on the
Toronto Venture Exchange.