afrol News, 15 November - International oil companies today announce they have made "a second hydrocarbons find offshore Sierra Leone." The field is now characterised as a "high potential" zone for oil drilling.
The announcement was made today by the Spanish oil company Repsol, which explores the offshore block SL-07B-10 together with its minor partners Anadarko and Tullow Oil. Anadarko is operator on the large block.
Repsol announced it had found "light crude" oil in its Mercury-1 exploration well. According to the Spanish company, this find was "a clear indication of the potential of a relatively unexplored area" off the coast of Sierra Leone.
"The well encountered net pay of 135 feet of oil. The partners are evaluating the results of the find and plan to drill new exploration wells to determine the area's commercial viability," according to the Repsol statement.
The oil discovery in the Mercury well follows another promising discovery at Sierra Leone's Venus B-1 well, which last year found gas and liquids at a depth of 18,500 feet. The Mercury-1 well was drilled about 60 kilometres south-east of the Venus B-1 well.
Repsol was the first company to begin exploration for oil and gas off the coast of Sierra Leone. Its ongoing operations since 2003 have resulted in the uncovering of an area the company describes as "of high potential which, together with its partners, the company will continue to explore."
Sierra Leone is still not an oil producer and Repsol's discoveries so far are not large enough to defend commercial oil production outside the country.
The West African region is however growing increasingly important as an oil producer. To the east of Sierra Leone, Ghana is currently joining Nigeria as an oil producer. To the north, major oil discoveries have been made off the coast of Mauritania, while the industry expects more finds to be made between these two countries.
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