Tullow Pauses Mauritania Drilling after Second Disappointing Well


LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) – Britain's Tullow Oil has paused its drilling programme in Mauritania after a second exploration well in the West African country's offshore waters failed to produce enough oil or gas, the company said on Friday.

The company is under pressure to regain its reputation for successful exploration after a string of disappointments. It said in February that its first Mauritania well did not find oil in commercial quantities.

Tullow Oil's second well there, Tapendar-1, was plugged and abandoned after drillers found water instead of hydrocarbons in the well's sands.

"We will now pause to analyse the data gathered from the exploration campaign thus far," Tullow Oil's exploration director, Angus McCoss, said in a statement.

He said Tullow Oil and its partners, which include Britain's Premier Oil and Malaysia's Petronas, would now analyse the data collected before deciding on further drilling.

Equity analysts called the news a setback, although some said the delays would save drilling costs.

"Mauritania is one of Tullow's high-potential exploration plays in 2014 and after two unsuccessful wells, we believe the market is likely to lower expectations for remaining prospectivity," Deutsche Bank analyst Lucas Herrmann said.

Shares in Tullow Oil traded 3 percent lower at 0816 GMT.

(Reporting by Sarah Young and Karolin Schaps; Editing by Neil Maidment and Dale Hudson)


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