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Tullow’s Offshore French Guiana Find Mirrors Ghana’s Jubilee

Tullow Oil Plc, the U.K. explorer behind West Africa’s biggest offshore discovery in a decade, said an offshore find in French Guiana opened up a new hydrocarbon basin on the other side of the Atlantic.

The Zaedyus exploration well was drilled to test whether the Jubilee field in Ghana was mirrored in South America, the London-based company said today in a statement. Tullow jumped as much as 13 percent in London trading, the biggest gain in more than 2 1/2 years.

Zaedyus is the first well to test the “Atlantic mirror” theory and Tullow’s Exploration Director Angus McCoss said the field could hold 700 million barrels in gross reserves. The well encountered 72 meters of so-called net oil pay.

“The discovery at Zaedyus has proved the extension of the Jubilee-play across the Atlantic and made an important new discovery in French Guiana,” McCoss said in today’s statement.

Jubilee, which was discovered in 2007, has potential resources of 1.8 billion barrels, according to Tullow.

The world’s largest oil companies missed out on the Jubilee find. In French Guiana, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA, Europe’s largest and third-biggest oil companies, bought into the field.

Shares Gain

Tullow surged as much as 162 pence and traded at 1,372 pence as of 8:57 a.m. local time. The stock is up 9 percent this year.

Geologists believe that when the Atlantic Ocean started opening between South America and Africa, organic sediment resulted in hydrocarbon deposits known as the Late Cretaceous turbidite sands. They haven’t been drilled to date because they are less visible than other types of deposits and drilling at such depths has only recently become viable.

The well found light oil, in line with expectations, and cost $200 million to drill. Tullow had delayed announcing drilling results from the “high-impact” Zaedyus well until September from August.

Tullow is the operator of the Guyane Maritime license with a 27.5 percent stake, while Shell has 45 percent, Total 25 percent and Northpet 2.5 percent.

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