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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Anadarko Executive: Drilling First Deep-Water Well Off Liberia

- Anadarko Executive: Drilling First Deep-Water Well Off Liberia

Thursday, August 18, 2011
Dow Jones Newswires
by Ryan Dezember

Anadarko plans an aggressive deep-water exploration campaign worldwide over the next year and a half, the head of the company's exploration unit said Wednesday.

"The inventory of opportunities we have is better than it's ever been," Bob Daniels, Anadarko's senior vice president of Worldwide Exploration, said during a speech webcast from an investor conference in Denver. "We will continue with a very aggressive exploration program around the world."

The Houston company's success in Ghana, where it last year brought the vast Jubilee discovery into production, has spread into neighboring West African nations, he said. In addition to offshore exploration in Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast, Anadarko is drilling Liberia's first deep-water well at the company's Montserrado prospect.

Judging from seismic data and other geologic factors, the Montserrado prospect "is a look-alike" to the Jubilee discovery, Daniels said.

Jubilee is estimated to hold the equivalent of between 600 million and 1.5 billion barrels of oil.

In all, Anadarko plans 15 deep-water exploration and appraisal wells in West African waters, Daniels said.

In East Africa, where Anadarko has already made a huge natural gas discovery off Mozambique, the company holds some 14 million acres. Daniels said Anadarko will bring a second rig to Mozambique in the fourth quarter and anticipates drilling prospects off Kenya, where Anadarko has leased "most of the deep water," next year.

Deep-water exploration is also slated to begin off New Zealand next year, he said.

"In the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, we have an inventory of discoveries and we have a very, very deep portfolio of exploration wells to drill," Daniels said.

The second-largest acreage holder in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Anadarko plans five deep-water exploration wells there this year and between six and eight exploration and appraisal wells next year.

In the last three weeks Anadarko has obtained three drilling permits from U.S. regulators, he said.

"That's very good progress in that we now have some confidence that when we apply for a permit we know about how long its going to take," he said. "That allows us to then put rig contracts in place."

Permits have been difficult to come by since last year's deadly Deepwater Horizon disaster. Anadarko was a minority owner of BP's doomed well, which blew out and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Anadarko said last month that it has agreed to jointly develop its Lucius field in the Gulf with ExxonMobil, which has its own big discoveries a few miles away. Lucius is believed to hold 300 million barrels of high-quality crude and Daniels said he expects the project to be sanctioned by the end of this year with first production planned for 2014.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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