Ophir building gas volumes offshore Equatorial Guinea

Ophir Energy PLC said its Fortuna East-1 stepout on Block R offshore Equatorial Guinea has encountered gas in the eastern lobe of the Fortuna complex and has discovered gas in the deeper Viscata exploration target.

The Fortuna East -1 (R5) well is Ophir’s fourth gas discovery on Block R and the sixth to date on the block, on which the company is aggregating volumes for a proposed liquefied natural gas project 100 km east on Bioko Island. Ophir operates Block R with an 80% stake.

Ophir said the Fortuna complex eastern lobe’s estimated mean in-place resource is 553 bcf, of which 426 bcf is estimated as recoverable. The block borders Nigerian waters about 60 km southeast of giant Zafiro oil and gas field, where 150 MMscfd of gas is flared and associated gas volumes are put at 500-750 bcf, the company said.

Besides being a gas discovery in the deeper-lying Viscata channel levee complex, and well also encountered the lateral stratigraphic equivalent interval of the Tranquilla and Iambe exploration prospects, confirming good quality reservoir and significantly derisking the forethrust play across the block, Ophir said.

Fortuna East-1 is 7 km east-southeast of Ophir’s Fortuna-1 discovery. The well encountered a 55-m gas- bearing column containing a total 40 m of net pay in the primary target Late Miocene sands of the eastern lobe of the Fortuna complex. The gas quality appears to be consistent with that observed in previous gas discoveries on Block R. Pressure measurements indicate communication between Fortuna-1 and Fortuna East-1, confirming an increased 101-m gas column in the complex.

Confirmation of the eastern lobe will increase the contingent resource category of the complex to 798 bcf, Ophir said.

The well was drilled in a noncrestal position for the mid-Miocene Viscata prospect and discovered an 8-m gas column in good quality reservoir with 21% porosity and a net to gross pay of 48%. The reservoir shares a common gas-water contact with the earlier Fortuna-1 discovery well. The predrill estimate for the Viscata exploration target was 359 bcf.

The forthcoming Fortuna West-1 stepout will further define the accumulation and enable estimation of the resource potential of the Viscata discovery.

Fortuna East-1, second in the three-well Ophir-operated 2012 Block R drilling program in Equatorial Guinea, went to 3,465 m subsea in 1,853 m of water.

The Eirik Raude semisubmersible has moved to the Fortuna West -1 (R6) location to test the western lobe of the Fortuna complex and the Felix exploration target. Results from this well are anticipated in early September 2012.

Nick Cooper, Ophir chief executive officer, said, “The Viscata gas discovery and the stratigraphic tests of the potential Iambe and Tranquilla reservoir intervals are also positive results, derisking the large remaining exploration inventory in Block R, which now amounts to more than 10 tcf of gas.”

Ophir said earlier this year that its 2012 drilling campaign targets sufficient resources to meet a two-train LNG economic threshold of 2.5 tcf.

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