Tullow Oil to start mobilization to Ethiopia’s Chew Bahir

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Story by The Reporter

The British Oil company that is prospecting for oil in Southern Ethiopia, Tullow Oil, is to start mobilization to Chew Bair basin at the end of this month.

Tullow’s drilling expedition drilled two exploration wells – Sabissa-1 and Tultule-1 – in the South Omo basin without much success. Now the drilling crew will soon start mobilization to Chew Bahir where they will drill the third well.

Tullow’s senior corporate affairs advisor, Sisay Zerihun, told The Reporter that the drilling crew will start mobilization to Chew Bahir at the end of this month. The well will be drilled in a locality called Shimela, some 600 kms south of Addis Ababa.

Sisay said access road and other facilities are being built adding that the drilling work will commence exploration in the second quarter of 2014.

“When we reported that Tultule-1 well will be abandoned as a dry well some people thought that we relinquished the whole block but that is not the case. We abandoned the well not the block,” Sisay said. Speaking of the expected result of Shimela well Sisay said, “You can not tell anything unless you drill and see what is in there.”

The South Omo Block is located in the northern portion of the Tertiary East African Rift trend where Tullow Oil and its partners have made five significant oil discoveries in Northern Kenya. The Company and its partners on the South Omo Block spudded the Sabissa-1 well in January 2013 and the well was drilled to a preliminary total depth of 1,810 meters. Hydrocarbon indications in sands beneath a thick claystone top seal have been recorded while drilling, but hole instability issues required the drilling of a sidetrack to comprehensively log and sample these zones of interest. The sidetrack was drilled to a total depth of 2,082 meters.

The well encountered reservoir quality sands, oil shows and heavy gas shows indicating an oil prone source rock and thick shale section which should provide a good seals for the numerous fault bounded traps identified in the basin. Only the lowermost sands appeared to be in trapping configuration at Sabissa-1. Based on the encouragement of the results of this well, the Company decided to drill the nearby Tultule prospect, which appears to be a horst-block structure four kilometres to the east of Sabisa-1. Unfortunately, the Tultule-1 well turned out to be dry and was abandoned.

The Company and its partners have completed a 1,174 kilometre 2D seismic program in the Chew Bahir Basin on the eastern portion of the South Omo Block.

This survey has identified a number of prospects and leads. The Shimela prospect has been identified as the first well in the area and is expected to spud in 2014. A second well location is also being considered for 2014.


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