Russia's Lukoil announced Thursday that official events attended by Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Gennady Gatilov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, and Andrey Kuzyaev, President of Lukoil Overseas, in Sierra Leone on the occasion of the launch of drilling on the SL-5-11 block in the deepwater shelf of the West Africa.
The official launch took place at the Eirik Raude (DW semisub) rig which started with spudding a deepwater well in the Savannah prospect. The target depth of the wildcat to be drilled within, will exceed 15,419.9 feet (4,700 meters), the water depth at the drilling location is more than 6,561.6 feet (2,000 meters).
Eirik Raude is the largest 5th generation self-propelled offshore drilling rig in the world. The rig has a height of 400.2 feet (122 meters), width of 278.8 feet (85 meters), deadweight of 52,500 tons and transit speed of 7 knots, crew – 120 people.
Lukoil Overseas, operator of Lukoil’s international upstream projects, has entered into the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) for exploration and development of block SL-5-11 in June 2011 as an operator with a 49 percent share. The other project partners are Oranto (30 percent) and PanAtlantic (21 percent).
Block SL-5-11 covers an area of 1552.9 square miles (4,022 square kilometers) on the shelf and continental slope of the Atlantic Ocean with water depth ranging from 328 to 10,826.7 feet (100 to 3,300 meters). 2D and 3D seismic data was acquired on 579.1 square miles (1,500 square kilometers) leading to the identification of several prospects. From the geological point of view, the block belongs to the Sierra Leone-Liberia basin where a number of sizeable oil discoveries have recently been made.
A standard contract for exploration and development of the block was concluded for the term of 30 years. The exploration program for the block includes re-interpretation of historical seismic data, an electric exploration survey and drilling of one exploration well.
The current exploration period will expire on Dec. 31. Obligations of the next exploration period will depend on the drilling results.
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