Afren has signed a drilling contract for two wells offshore Nigeria, with Ashbourne Marine Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Seadrill Ltd. The first well is expected to begin operations early in the third quarter of 2006. The Seadrill-7 is currently on location in Nigeria for another operator.
Afren intends to use the Seadrill-7 to further appraise its proven undeveloped fields in Oil Mining License 90 ("OML 90"). The undeveloped fields in OML 90 were secured by Afren in the second half of 2005 and are located in the shallow waters of the western Niger Delta. Oil and gas was discovered in a number of zones by Chevron in 1993, but were not tested. The fields are conventional Niger delta structures, at moderate depths and are likely to be low cost developments as they are close to existing infrastructure. The first well in OML 90 will appraise one of the existing discoveries and will be tested to confirm fluid type and reservoir performance.
Securing the drilling contracts marks an important step in the execution of Afren's strategy towards achieving near term development and production.
Afren is also delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Graham Ross as Drilling Manager for Afren. Mr. Ross is a highly experienced drilling manager, and has worked in the oil and gas industry for over 26 years.
Prior to his appointment with Afren, Mr. Ross served as Drilling Manager for Premier Oil, where he was responsible for drilling operations in Guinea Bissau and Gabon, as well as the UK North Sea. Before that, he served as Group Drilling Manager for Enterprise Oil, where he was responsible for drilling exploration and development wells in Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East.
Brian O'Cathain, Chief Executive of Afren commented:
We are also delighted to have appointed a Drilling Manager of the caliber of Graham Ross. His significant operating experience will be invaluable to Afren as we progress to operate a number of developments in the coming year."
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