Discoveries continue for offshore basin

Mozambique Offers New Opportunities

Carol Law
Carol Law

The Rovuma Basin off the coast of Mozambique is not on the radar screen of a whole lot of folks.

It’s a big deal at Anadarko Petroleum Corp., however, which continues to rack up major natural gas discoveries there (January EXPLORER), .

The company announced its fourth and latest deepwater find in Offshore Area 1 of the Rovuma Basin early in February. The Tubarao discovery well tapped into more than 110 net feet of natural gas pay – and no water – in what Anadarko called a high quality Eocene age reservoir that is separate and distinct from the hydrocarbon accumulations in its three earlier discoveries in Offshore Area 1.

The Tubarao prospect discovery reportedly opens a completely new play style, which has additional opportunities in Mozambique’s Offshore Area 1, according to AAPG member Bob Daniels, Anadarko senior vice president for worldwide exploration.

Things have moved quickly since the company originally staked a claim in this region.

“The Rovuma Basin in the northern Mozambique area was very under explored when Anadarko signed the original license in December 2006 for deepwater acreage,” said Carol Law, exploration manager for East Africa and the Caribbean at Anadarko. “There was one well in the entire northern region of Mozambique, and that was an onshore Exxon well drilled in the ’80s.

“There was very little 2-D seismic data, and this was very much rank wildcat territory,” Law said. “The amount of seismic data that was available showed that there was a significant Tertiary basin there with basically a well-developed fold and thrust belt structural setting, and that’s what attracted Anadarko to the acreage initially.

“From there began four years of rather aggressive exploration, shooting 3-D and acquiring more 2-D,” Law said, “and we farmed into the adjacent onshore acreage position and subsequently took over operatorship of that.

“We now have about six million acres,” she said, “from the onshore extensional basin all the way to out in front of the fold and thrust belt in the deepwater.”

Success – and Potential for More

Anadarko’s seismic imaging reportedly indicates that Tubarao’s areal extent could cover about 15,000 acres that will be further defined via appraisal drilling.

In a nod to procedural and drilling efficiency, Tubarao was drilled in half the time of the initial explorations wells.

The well reached approximately 13,900 feet TD in water about 2,950 feet deep, about 18 miles off the coast of Mozambique. The partnership plans to preserve the wellbore at Tubarao for potential utilization in further testing.

Following Anadarko’s earlier Lagosta prospect discovery 17.5 miles northeast of Tubarao, which was announced late November 2010, Daniels noted that even though additional appraisal drilling would be needed, the company believed that the three Area 1 discoveries announced up to that time already exceeded the resource size threshold needed to support an LNG development.

He emphasized that given the global LNG trade and its indexing to the global crude market, the resource can provide great economic value for the Mozambique people, the government and the partnership.

Anadarko is the operator of Offshore Area 1, which encompasses 2.6 million acres. The company has a 36.5 percent working interest and is joined by a number of co-owners.

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New Play Style

The Tubarao prospect discovery reportedly opens a completely new play style, which has additional opportunities in Mozambique’s Offshore Area 1.

Discovery Forum Has Global Scope

Carol Law, exploration manager for East Africa and the Caribbean for Anadarko Petroleum, will present the paper “Northern Mozambique: True Wildcat Exploration in East Africa,” at 4:20 p.m. Monday, April 11, during theAAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston.

The paper is part of this year’s Discovery Thinking Forum, the fourth installment of the AAPG 100th Anniversary Committee’s program recognizing “100 Who Made a Difference.”

The forum will start at 1:15 p.m. in General Assembly C of the George R. Brown Convention Center, and will end at 5 p.m. for the Michel T. Halbouty Lecture.

This year’s program focuses on insights derived from hard-won experience in play-opening Gulf Coast discoveries as well as the story behind some of the hottest international plays.

Other forum presentations are:
  • “Jack and Other Discoveries Open the Lower Tertiary Trend in the Gulf of Mexico,” by James Cearley, general manager of exploration, Chevron.
  • “Tamar – The Opening of a Frontier Basin in the Eastern Mediterranean,” by Susan Cunningham, senior vice president of exploration for Noble Energy (see related story, page 14).
  • “Hidden Beneath Desert Sands – The Discovery of the Barmer Basin in Rajasthan and Its Giant Oil Fields,” by Stuart Burley, head of geosciences, Cairn.
  • “Exploration of the Tano Basin and Discovery of the Jubilee Field, Ghana: A New Deepwater Game-Changing Hydrocarbon Play in the Transform Margin of West Africa,” by Paul Dailly, senior vice president of exploration, Kosmos Energy.

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