Exploration & Appraisal
Our bold exploration strategy differentiates Tullow within the industry and is focused on discovering big volumes of light oil, for premium value, at low finding costs.
Our focus areas for exploration are Africa and the Atlantic Margins, with Asia providing non-core upside potential. Our three core plays are giant stratigraphic traps (e.g. Ghana, French Guiana and Mauritania), oil-prone rift basins (e.g. Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Madagascar) and prolific salt basins (e.g. Mauritania, Southern North Sea and Gabon). We have also been building capability to take on a fourth play, carbonates (e.g. Mauritania).
We have consistently converted exploration investment into high-value discoveries. Our exploration discoveries greatly enable fund raising and generate vital cash flow through either farming down or developing to generate production revenues.
Our scale grows proportionately with our investment in exploration and has evolved from individual high-graded prospects in Tullow’s early days, through prolific plays, to transformational basin opening campaigns, to where we are today, exploring systems of related hydrocarbon basins. We are taking ever more material acreage positions, with sensible commitments and low cost entry points, to significantly amplify the commercial follow-up potential in the event of early discoveries.
Tullow’s exploration leadership in the industry was demonstrated again by the Zaedyus-1 discovery in 2011. This strategic well proved our Atlantic twin basins concept, based on tectonics, extending the Jubilee play from Ghana across to the corresponding basin on the opposite Atlantic Margin offshore French Guiana, and also de-risked Tullow’s commanding position in the offshore Guyanas.
Through investing in years of careful geological evaluation, we have developed numerous high-equity, high-quality opportunities which have met our stringent criteria for entry into our current prospect inventory. For sustainable growth, we are setting up other potentially transformational up-and-coming exploration campaigns for our future portfolio. In Mauritania and Senegal our commanding acreage position and our in-depth geological studies of new plays have positioned Tullow to 'move the needle’ again following any basin opening discoveries. If we can open these high-impact new plays then the potential for further exploration is really significant.
In Kenya and Ethiopia we have embarked on a complementary rift basin exploration campaign covering approximately 100,000 square kilometres. We have covered this unexplored acreage, which is 10 times larger than our Uganda acreage, with the world’s largest ever Full Tensor Gradiometry (FTG) gravity survey. Advanced fidelity 2D seismic surveying is ongoing and these data are being integrated with the FTG. Like all exploration campaigns, our work in Ethiopia and Kenya is high-risk but we are hopeful of a breakthrough with the first few wells planned for 2012. Numerous leads are currently being interpreted and the scope for follow-up in our Kenya and Ethiopia acreage, in the event of a breakthrough, could project continuous E&A activities into the middle of the century.
In addition, there are other campaigns under way, including exploration of pre-salt sandstone reservoirs in Tullow’s offshore Gabon acreage and further exploration in the West Africa Transform Margin where our E&A team is focused on extending the Jubilee play, building on the results which come with each well.
New strategic exploration alliances
Tullow is also developing a number of strategic exploration alliances with other E&P companies around complementary exploration skills and opportunities, such as the non-binding, non-exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with Royal Dutch Shell where we have agreed to jointly investigate certain new frontier exploration opportunities on the Atlantic Margins.