By Jon Mainwaring
August 28, 2012
Announcements made Tuesday from a number of companies involved in drilling for oil in Puntland, onshore Somalia, confirmed that the Shabeel North well has come up dry.
After reaching a total depth of approximately 12,940 feet, the well penetrated 489 feet of interbedded sands and shales of the Triassic Adigrat Formation with no oil or gas shows and only minor porosity exhibited on electric logs. The well is now being plugged.
Oil sector analysts at London-based FoxDavies Capital described the news as "having killed" the prospectivity of both wells in the Shabeel Structure and had highlighted the "difference between making a discovery and it being commercial".
In spite of this, FoxDavies said that the knowledge learned from the drilling of the wells would be integrated into the existing data set and used to help identify the next candidates of the team's drilling program on the Nugaal block.
Operator Horn Petroleum, along with partners Range Resources and Red Emperor Resources, now plans to explore the Nugaal and Dharoor Valley blocks, where it has production sharing contracts that carry a commitment to drill one well in each block within three years.
Keith Hill – the CEO of Africa Oil, which holds a 51-percent interest in Horn Petroleum – conceded he was disappointed that Horn had not been able to flow oil from the first two explorations wells in Puntland, but that he remained "highly encouraged" that all of the critical elements exist for oil accumulations, noting the presence of a working petroleum system, good quality reservoirs and thick seal rocks.
"We look forward to working with the Puntland government to move our exploration project to the next phase which will likely require us to focus on prospects in different areas of the basins. One should keep in perspective that it often takes a number of wells to find commercial hydrocarbons and we plan to continue our aggressive program to unlock the potential of this highly prospective region," Hill said in a statement.