Ophir Jump Starts 2012 Drilling Program in Tanzania

Ophir announced the start of its 2012 drilling program in Tanzania with the Odfjell rig Deepsea Metro-1 (UDW drillship). The first three wells in the program will be Jodari-1, Mzia-1 (previously named 1W) and Papa-1 (previously named 3A).

The Metro-1 is a state-of-the-art drillship capable of drilling in water depths of up to 3,000m. The rig has a dual derrick with a main work center and an auxiliary work center to facilitate a number of simultaneous operations. Both work centers are equipped for drilling. The Metro-1 was built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries yard in Ulsan, South Korea and a detailed series of acceptance tests have been performed ahead of mobilization to Tanzania.

The Jodari-1 and Mzia-1 wells are both located in Block 1. For efficiency reasons the Mzia-1 top hole section will be drilled first, as part of a batch drilling program, then the rig will move to drill Jodari-1 in its entirety, before returning to Mzia-1 to complete the bottom portion of the well.

The Mzia-1 well spudded in 1,500m of water on January 1, 2012 and drilling of the top hole section is expected to take 7 to 10 days. Thereafter the Jodari-1 well will spud in a water depth of 1,155m and drill to total depth of c 4,600m subsea in an estimated 40 days. The Jodari prospect contains multiple stacked targets in both the Tertiary and Cretaceous sections with the former having seismic flat spot and amplitude fit to structure. Jodari is modeled by Ophir to contain mean resources of 2.2Tcf in the stacked targets.

Ophir holds 40 percent of Blocks 1, 3 and 4 and has now fully handed over operatorship to 60 percent partner BG International, who will manage the program with the Metro-1.

East Pande 3D Seismic Program, Tanzania

The Fugro Geo Caribbean seismic vessel commenced mobilization in the East Pande license on December 30, 2011. The 2,200km2 3D seismic program is expected to take 40 days to complete and is designed to mature prospects for possible drilling late in 2012. Ophir holds 70 percent of the East Pande license and operates the Block.

Equatorial Guinea Rig Contract

Ophir expects imminently to conclude negotiations to secure a rig for a 3 to 4 well drilling program in the extended Block R, Equatorial Guinea. The program, which is designed to demonstrate sufficient gas volumes to underpin a planned second LNG train in Equatorial Guinea, will include one or more appraisal wells on Ophir's earlier Fortuna-1 discovery, plus exploration wells on the Tonel and Silenus prospects.

Due to rig availability, this program is now expected to start in late March. It is anticipated that the program will take approximately 60 days. Ophir holds 80 percent of the Block R license and operates the Block.

Mbeli and Ntsina 3D Seismic Program, Gabon

The PGS Apollo seismic vessel commenced mobilization from Port Gentil on December 26, 2011. The 2,100km2 3D seismic program is expected to take 42 days to complete. The survey is specifically designed to mature pre-salt targets for drilling in late 2012. Ophir holds 50 percent of the Mbeli and Ntsina licenses and operates them; Petrobras holds the remaining 50 percent of the blocks.

Ophir CEO, Nick Cooper said, "2012 has the potential to be transformational for Ophir. We are pleased to start the year by kicking off our Tanzanian drilling program and also to see drilling and seismic operations gearing up across our other key assets. Ophir plans to drill at least 9 wells across our portfolio in 2012."

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