Woodside Makes Discovery Offshore Mauritania

Woodside Petroleum reported that it had potentially opened up a new oil province after positive results at its first well offshore Mauritania, in north west Africa.

"This is the first discovery in a new province so it is pretty exciting," said a Woodside official. "However, we still need to do appraisal drilling and it will be some time before we can give reserve figures."

The group, which is the operator for the Area B Joint Venture offshore Mauritania, said the Chinquetti-1 exploration well had intersected oil bearing sandstones over a gross interval of 282 feet. The well was drilled by Saipem's semisubmersible, Scarabeo 7 in 2,592 feet of water to a total depth of 8,596 feet. The well is located about 50 miles from the Mauritanian coastline. Woodside said the Scarabeo 7 would be moved to a second prospect, known as Courbine, which is located approximately 10 miles northwest of Chinquetti-1. Seismic surveys indicate there are 43 different leads in the joint venture's exploration acreage. Although oil companies had previously drilled unsuccessfully in shallow water close to the Mauritanian shore, the deepwater is regarded as frontier territory.

Woodside holds a 35 percent interest and is the operator. The other participants are Eni with 35 percent, Hardman Resources with 18.6 percent, Fusion Oil & Gas with 6 percent, Planet Oil with 3 percent and Elixir Corporation with the remaining 2.4 percent.