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Ophir Has Record Decline as Gabon Well Fails to Find Oil

Ophir Energy Plc, a U.K. explorer in Africa, fell the most in seven months in London after a well off Gabon failed to find commercial volumes of oil and gas.

Ophir dropped 15 percent, the biggest decline since Aug. 15, to 251.7 pence. Trading volumes were seven times the three-month daily average.

The company drilled the Padouck Deep-1 well in the Ntsina block to 3,297 meters (10,800 feet), according to a statement today from London-based Ophir. “There were no significant hydrocarbon shows in the targeted reservoirs,” it said.

Ophir, which operates in West and East Africa, was seeking a discovery in pre-salt rocks, a geological layer that formed before salt accumulated on top. The company, holding a 50 percent stake in Padouck Deep-1, has been looking for partners to share costs in Gabon, as well as in Equatorial Guinea, Kenya and Tanzania, after exploration was slower than forecast.

Today’s announcement shows it’s unclear whether there’s a reservoir that could contain oil or gas, Brian Gallagher, an analyst at Investec Bank Plc, wrote in an e-mailed report. “Sourcing has proved inconclusive and now is the primary risk to the play,” he said.

Austria’s OMV AG is also a partner in the Padouck Deep-1 well.

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