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About Tullow in Ethiopia

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Following Tullow’s exploration success in Uganda’s Lake Albert Rift Basin, the company extended its exploration acreage into the prospective East African Rift Basins of Kenya and Ethiopia.

In 2010, Tullow signed an agreement with Africa Oil to gain a 50% operated interest in the South Omo Block in Ethiopia, complemented by the 50% operated interests in six adjacent Kenyan licences. The combined acreage covers the Turkana Rift Basin which is similar in geology to the Lake Albert Rift Basin and is also a south-east extension of the geologically older Sudan rift basins trend. The acreage, which is located 500 km to the east of Lake Albert has good evidence of a live oil system.

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current activities

exploration & appraisal

The first Ethiopian well in Tullow’s licence, Sabisa-1, commenced drilling in December 2012 and encountered reservoir quality sands and oil and heavy gas shows indicating an oil prone source rock. The next well in the programme, Tutule-1, was drilled in 2013 and recorded gas shows which reaffirmed the presence of hydrocarbons in the region. These were the most northerly wells drilled in our East African acreage at the time, and importantly established that the hydrocarbon system is present. A number of additional follow-up prospects have been mapped in this part of the South Omo Block.

A second exploration campaign commenced drilling in 2014, in the east of the South Omo Block in the geologically independent Chew Bahir Basin. The Shimela prospect was drilled in May 2014, but the well encountered water-bearing reservoirs and volcanics. The Gardim-1 well was then drilled in a separate sub-basin, in the south-eastern corner of the Chew Bahir Basin and intersected lacustrine and volcanic formations, similar to those found in the Shimela-1 well, but did not encounter oil.

Seismic interpretation continues on independent prospectivity in other sub-basins elsewhere in the South Omo Block. The Government of Ethiopia has approved Tullow’s entry into the Second Additional Exploration period for the licence through to January 2017.

Our exploration plans


Our strategy and 2015 programme

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Page last updated: 22 February 2016