Woodside farms into Beach’s Tanzania permit

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has farmed into Beach Petroleum Ltd.’s wholly owned and logistically intriguing inland offshore permit in Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania.

The permit is known as the Lake Tanganyika South Block and occupies the southeastern part of the lake itself on Tanzania’s western boundary.

Woodside will take as much as 70% interest in return for reimbursement to Beach for some of its past exploration and establishment costs that include 2,080 km of 2D seismic, aeromagnetic, and gravity surveys.

In addition Woodside will fund an ongoing seismic work program over the next 12 months. Beach will retain operatorship for the time being, but Woodside has an option for future drilling and operatorship if the seismic results warrant a well. Woodside will contribute to the costs of an initial well.

Beach has said previously that, depending on the location, a well could be drilled from the lake shore and deviated under the lake itself. The alternative is to bring offshore rig sections overland from the Tanzanian coast and reassemble them for a drilling campaign on the lake.

Woodside and Beach describe the project area as an exciting and underexplored oil-prone frontier basin. Beach’s seismic work has indicated the presence of interlayered shales and sands that bode well as hydrocarbon source, reservoir, and seal.

The permit lies in the western arm of the East Africa Rift. Oil has been found in Lake Albert in Uganda to the north and also in the eastern part of the Rift Valley in Kenya.

Beach took up the permit in 2010 under an 11-year production-sharing agreement signed with the Tanzanian government.

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