Tullow Well Opens ‘New Oil Play’ in Mauritania, Needs More Tests

Tullow Oil Plc (TLW), the U.K. explorer that produces most of its crude in West Africa, said the Fregate well opened “a new oil play” off Mauritania.

The Fregate-1 well found about 30 meters (98.4 feet) of net gas condensate and oil accumulation after drilling to a depth of 5,426 meters, Tullow said today in a statement.

The “well has achieved an important technical breakthrough by establishing a new oil play in deepwater Late Cretaceous turbidites,” London-based Tullow said. “Whilst encouraging, further assessment and analysis will be required before follow up activities.”

Tullow, which today said 2013 earnings fell 73 percent to $169 million after disposals, plans to invest about $1 billion this year to explore for oil in Mauritania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Norway and drill its first well off Guinea.

Together with partners, Total SA (FP) and Cnooc Ltd. (883), it signed a memorandum of understanding this month to produce about 200,000 barrels of oil a day in Uganda. In Ghana, Tullow plans to invest about $1.2 billion this year to develop the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) project.

Tullow was targeting the equivalent of about 300 million barrels of oil in Mauritania’s Block C-7, where Fregate was drilled, Exploration Director Angus McCoss said last year.

The U.K. company is in talks with the Ghanaian government about possible gas flaring at the Jubilee field, its largest project, to “enable the field” to pump about 100,000 barrels of oil a day this year, it said today.

It relinquished its interest in Block L8 in Kenya and wrote off the Ngassa discovery, which extends beneath Lake Albert because offshore appraisal and development is currently uneconomic, it said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at egismatullin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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