The UK based, Tullow Oil, started drilling a third exploratory well early this week.
For the past two years they have been assessing an oil deposit in South Omo valley and dug two exploratory wells at Sabissa and Tultule, however they were largely unsuccessful.
Sources at Tullow Oil Ethiopia said they began drilling the third well on Tuesday April 1 at Chew Bahir basin, in Shimela. OGEC, a drilling contractor from Poland is doing the digging and has also drilled the first two wells. Tullow’s report indicates that the company and its partners have completed a 1,174 kilometer 2D seismic program in the Chew Bahir in the eastern South Omo Block. An oil exploration block is a large area of land, typically in 1000s of sq. kilometers, that is awarded to oil drilling and exploration companies by a country.
The company hopes to drill three more exploratory wells this year if they are able to get adequate equipment to Chew Bahir basin in the South Omo Valley.
Tullow reports that drilling will begin at the Shimela Prospect, the first well in the area, and also expects to drill a second well later this year.
Previously Tullow drilled at Sabissa-1, located some 15 kilometers from Omorate town and the Tultule prospect, four kilometers to the east of Sabisa-1. They say they are encouraged by what they have found from the two wells.
The first drilling operation occurred early last year at Sabissa-1 and it came after an extensive 18 month seismic study, which also included one of the world’s largest airborne gravity surveys, covering approximately 18,000km. Looking at the seismic activity from the survey helped them determine where to explore for oil in the South Omo block.
Tullow Oil has already discovered oil on its own block in Kenya, which is located within the same petroleum system as South Omo.
Previously, however, several oil explorations and drilling was conducted by other companies in various parts of Ethiopia, but it did not lead to successful results.
Tullow Oil also has stakes in Uganda where it first found oil in Lake Albert Rift Basin and then extended its exploration to the East African Rift Basins of Kenya and Ethiopia in 2010.
Tullow is a leading independent oil and gas, exploration and production group. The group has interests in over 100 explorations, and production licenses across 23 countries which are managed as three regional business units: West and North Africa, South and East Africa and Europe, South America and Asia.
According to the statement that the company sent to Capital, Tullow Oil Ethiopia has undertaken several social contributions in the exploration area and the surrounding area at the cost of 19 million birr. The company stated that it will also continue contributing to improve social activities.