Ophir Gains in London After Upgrading Tanzanian Gas Reserves

Ophir Energy Plc, the U.K. explorer planning to build the first liquefied natural gas terminal in East Africa, rose the most in two weeks in London after upgrading its resource estimates.

Ophir gained 3.8 percent to 586 pence, the biggest increase since Aug. 21. The shares have doubled this year.

The resource estimate for the Mzia discovery in Block 1 off the coast off Tanzania was increased to 4 trillion to 9 trillion cubic feet of gas from an earlier range of 2 trillion to 6 trillion, the London-based company said today in a statement. Ophir said its L9 and L15 blocks in Kenya and Block 7 in Tanzania may hold 36 trillion cubic feet of resources.

Gross discovered in-place resources for Blocks 1, 3 and 4 in Tanzania of as much as 21 trillion cubic feet meet the “threshold for a two-train LNG development,” Ophir said. It’s exploring the blocks with BG Group Plc.

Tanzania may become the first East African nation to export LNG, from one of the world’s poorest regions. The government is developing a gas-industry master plan and may ask explorers to cooperate in building a unified LNG hub.

“In parallel with our exploration program, we have begun screening work to identify a potential site for an onshore LNG plant,” Kim Blomley, a spokesman at Reading, England-based BG, said today. “While we have clearly made an encouraging start in Tanzania, it is early days and much work is yet to be done before BG can commit to an LNG project in the country.”

Ophir said it plans to introduce a “strategic partner” before a planned multiwell drilling program in 2013 in Kenya and Tanzania.

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