London-listed Aminex has taken over operatorship of Tanzania’s Ruvuma basin permit in a reshuffling of licence interests ahead of drilling of a key exploration well later this year.
Previous operator Tullow Oil has handed over the reins with immediate effect to Aminex as the partners on the Ruvuma production sharing agreement prepare to spud the Ntorya-1 well in the Mtwara block at the underexplored play in November.
Following a re-assignment of interests by Tullow to partners, Aminex will hold a 56.25% interest with Tullow on 25% and remaining stakeholder Solo on 18.75%. The stake transfers remain subject to Tanzanian government approval.
Aminex said the transfer of operatorship was “a logical and practical move” given that it is already operating a well using the Caroll Rig-6 that will be moved to the drill the Ruvuma well once its present drilling job at Nyuni-2 is completed.
Ntorya-1 is a follow-up to the Likonde-1 well drilled last year that provided strong evidence of oil and gas but was not a commercial discovery.
The new probe will be drilled south of Likonde to a depth of about 2020 metres with drilling expected to take 25 days to reach target depth.
“Both Solo and Aminex have a strong focus on Tanzania and by gaining a greater participation in the PSA will jointly be able to advance the work programme more quickly,” said Solo executive director Neil Ritson.
Aminex chairman Brian Hall said the Ntorya prospect is “in one of the last major underexplored deltaic basins in Africa”.
Aminex was originally awarded the PSA with a 100% interest in 2005 and acquired the original seismic before handing over operatorship to fellow UK independent Tullow.
The Ruvuma basin, located both onshore and offshore Tanzania, has triggered strong exploration interest, with several successful deep-water gas wells drilled by Anadarko in the Mozambique sector of the basin.
Earlier this year, BG Group and partner Ophir Energy drilled an offshore gas discovery in the Tanzanian sector in a licence adjoining the Ruvuma PSA.