BG Group: Tanzania's 1st Deepwater Drilling to Start Shortly

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), Sep. 16, 2010

Tanzania's first deepwater drilling operation is set to start shortly, a spokeswoman for BG Group said Thursday, as the industry focuses on African waters after a U.S. moratorium on such drilling.

A BG spokeswoman said in an email that "drilling activities are expected to commence shortly," adding that exact timing was still uncertain.

"I can confirm that the Deepsea Stavanger, supplied by Odfjell Drilling, has been mobilized by Ophir...for the first deep-water drilling campaign conducted in Tanzania," she said.

In May, U.K.-based integrated gas company BG Group acquired 60% stakes in oil and gas exploration blocks one, three and four offshore Tanzania from Ophir, the operator.

A moratorium in U.S. deep-water drilling, following BP's Macondo well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, has led many contractors to send their rigs to places such as the Congo or Egypt. The Deepsea Stavanger, however, was always earmarked for Tanzania.

The country has seen little oil exploration, but contains a large section of the same East African Rift Valley where around 2.0 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in Uganda.

U.S. independent oil-company Anadarko also made a high-quality deep-water natural-gas discovery in February in the section of the Ruvuma Basin that stretches into the waters of Mozambique.

U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil in late March acquired a 35% interest in the Tanzanian deep-water Block 2 operated by oil company Statoil for an undisclosed amount.

Other oil companies present in Tanzania include Aminex, Tullow Oil and Dominion Petroleum.

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