LONDON – Sterling Energy expects exploration drilling to start next month on the Ntem concession offshore Cameroon.
The acreage had been under force majeure since June 2005, due to overlapping maritime border claims by the Republic of Cameroon and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
These claims remain unresolved. However, Sterling Cameroon, operator Murphy Cameroon Ntem Oil Co., and Cameroon’s state oil company Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures have agreed to lift the declaration of force majeure to allow exploration to proceed.
Ntem is an undrilled block in water depths ranging from 400-2,000 m (1,312-6,562 ft), in the southern Douala - Rio Muni basin.
Murphy became operator following a farm-out agreement with Sterling in November 2011, and will cover Sterling’s costs for the first well.
The drillship Ocean Confidence is preparing to mobilize to drill Bamboo-1, the first well on the concession. The location, in around 1,600 m (5,249 ft) of water, is outside the disputed area.
The well targets a series of vertically stacked, Cretaceous submarine fans defined from a 3D seismic data set that covers more than 70% of the concession area.
Sterling says the primary objective may hold 422 MMbbl of oil and 170 bcf (4.8 bcm) of gas.