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Pancontinental Falls Most Since 2004 on Kenya Well: Sydney Mover

Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Pancontinental Oil & Gas NL, an Australian explorer focused on East Africa, had its biggest drop in eight years in Sydney after further drilling at a venture with Apache Corp. failed to find to find oil or gas.

Pancontinental slumped 47 percent to 12.5 cents, the most since June 7, 2004, while Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index increased 0.8 percent.

The Perth-based company rose 91 percent two days ago after the partnership that includes Tullow Oil Plc and Origin Energy Ltd. said they discovered the first natural gas off Kenya in the Mbawa-1 well. No hydrocarbons were found at a deeper, secondary target, Pancontinental said today in a statement.

“The total amount of gas that has been found is not sufficient in isolation to be seen to be commercial,” Kenya’s Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi told reporters yesterday. “The results give us encouragement that the next well to be drilled in the block will likely result in a bigger discovery.”

East Africa has become one of the most active exploration areas since Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Eni SpA made the decade’s biggest gas find off Mozambique, followed by BG Group Plc and Statoil ASA’s gas discoveries off Tanzania.

Apache, the third-largest U.S. independent oil and natural-gas producer by market value, may drill one more exploration well in the block as soon as next year, the company said yesterday. It said it will examine the drilling results and keep open the option of re-entering the well.

Houston-based Apache, the operator, owns 50 percent of the block, while Sydney-based Origin holds 20 percent. Tullow, based in London, and Pancontinental each hold 15 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

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