Shell to deepen well offshore French Guiana

Offshore staff

LONDON – Northern Petroleum (AIM:NOP), a minority partner in the Guyane Maritime permit offshore French Guiana, has issued an update on its current drilling operations. According to Tullow Oil, however, the statement was not authorized by the other partners, led by operator Shell (NYSE:RDS.A).

Northern said the GM-ES-3 exploration well, designed to examine the Priodontes fan system northwest of the Zaedyus oil discovery, intersected a 50-m (164-ft) gross section of oil-stained sands in the lower part of the Bradypus fan. This was not a target formation although it is within the main Cingulata fan system that contains Zaedyus.

A 325-m (1,066-ft) gross interval of sandstones was encountered in the targeted Priodontes fan, but logging revealed no significant hydrocarbons.

Northern added that the partners planned to drill deeper to penetrate the full post-Atlantic rift sequence, with the duration of this additional drilling dependent on results from the formations encountered.

The company said this information may prove critical to a fuller understanding of the exploration potential of the large licensed area. The well is now targeted to reach a final depth of 6,438 m (21,122 ft), subject to operational factors.

Derek Musgrove, managing director of Northern, said: “Following the oil discoveries of GM-ES-1 in 2011, the task before us was to explore the license to ascertain its wider potential. Whilst the sand package in the primary target proved not to have significant hydrocarbons at this location, the oil staining encountered in the Bradypus fan is encouraging of the broader active hydrocarbon systems and potential.”

Tullow said that although the Priodontes well has not so far delivered hydrocarbons, this is due to a trap-specific issue and has no follow-on consequences for prospectivity elsewhere in the block.


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