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Lukoil and Vanco Set Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire Spuds

Source: Reuters 10/15/2010, Location: Africa

LUKOIL, Vanco and state oil company partners GNPC and PETROCI, are preparing for an intensive West African exploration and appraisal drilling program for two contract areas in the Gulf of Guinea, including Cape Three Points Deep Water (CTPDW, Republic of Ghana) and CI-401 (Republic of Cote d’Ivoire).

The drilling contractor Ocean Rig, a subsidiary of Dryships Inc., entered into contracts to drill four wells in CTPDW block, including two exploration wells on new structures and two appraisal wells on the Dzata structure, where an oil and gas discovery was announced in February 2010. In Cote d’Ivoire, the drillship is expected to drill one exploration well in Block CI-401, where the Orca-1X bis well was completed in May 2010. The contracts provide for one more optional well and an optional additional one-year term.

The commencement of drilling activities in the CTPDW is scheduled for April-May 2011, the CI-401 is scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. The water depth for each of all the wells is approximately 1,900 meters. The activities will be performed by a dynamically positioned sixth-generation drilling unit capable of drilling in water depths of up to 3,000 meters. Currently, the drillship is being prepared for flotation at the Samsung shipyard, the Republic of Korea.

The CTPDW and CI-401 projects share similar ownership structures whereby LUKOIL holds 56.66% and 28.34% belongs to Vanco Ghana Ltd. and Vanco Cote d’Ivoire Ltd., respectively; the state companies own 15% (i.e. Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and PETROCI, respectively). Seismic surveys and drilling of one exploration well have been performed at each block thus far. A significant oil and gas field has been discovered in the CTPDW (the Dzata structure) at a depth of about 4,500 meters below sea level.

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