Directors' Report: Business review
In South America, Tullow’s main focus is on the transform margin from Guyana through Suriname to French Guiana, where the Group is seeking to replicate the success at Jubilee throughout the Equatorial Atlantic region. Tullow’s frontier exploration programmes are being matured with a view to a high-impact drilling campaign in 2010 and 2011.
Following a complete re-evaluation of the exploration potential of the extensive (32,500 sq km) Guyane Maritime block in 2008, the focus of attention shifted to high-impact leads in the southeast portion of the block, the ‘Eastern Slope’ play. These leads comprise high-risk stratigraphic traps analogous to the Jubilee field offshore Ghana being formed in similarly aged Upper Cretaceous turbidite fans.
To de-risk the prospectivity and delineate drilling targets, a 2,500 sq km 3D seismic survey commenced in September 2009 and was completed in March 2010. Processing and interpretation of this data will take place during the rest of the year. Planning for drilling operations has commenced with a view to securing a deepwater rig to enable Tullow to spud its first well in the block around year end.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, Tullow farmed out 33% of its 97.5% holding in this block to Shell and a further 25% to Total, leaving Tullow with 39.5%. Northpet Investments retains the remaining 2.5%. Shell has an option to take up a further 12% and the operatorship in late-2010. The assignment of interests to both Shell and Total await formal approval from the French Government.
An extensive 3D seismic survey was completed over the Georgetown block early in 2009. The data has been processed and interpreted and a number of stratigraphic trap prospects at Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary levels have been identified and matured. A first exploratory well is expected to commence around year-end.
In the onshore Uitkijk block the drilling programme was completed in early 2009. The wells were targeting stratigraphically-trapped heavy oil at shallow depths in Lower Tertiary sands analogous to the adjacent Tamberadjo field. Oil pay was encountered in two wells. The drilling of five wells in the onshore Coronie block, in the same play, was originally scheduled for 2009 but due to delays with the rig construction this has now moved into 2010.
3D Seismic Survey, French Guiana
Tullow’s exposure to high-impact drilling in French Guiana
During 2009 Tullow farmed down 33% and a further 25% of its Guyana Maritime block to Shell and Total respectively where high-risk stratigraphic traps analogous to Jubilee have been identified.