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Thursday May 8, 2008

Petronas and partners strike oil and gas in Mauritania

PETALING JAYA: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and its partners have found oil and gas in the Banda field, off Mauritania, north-west Africa, according to Australia’s ROC Oil Co Ltd, which is involved in the operations.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday, ROC Oil said its unit ROC Oil (Mauritania) Co and the partners discovered oil at the Banda NW ST-1 sidetrack well. The Banda field is in about 300m of water.

ROC Oil said the results indicated natural gas over a depth of 85m, of which 15m were capable of production. It also found oil at a depth of 15m, of which 10m or 67%, were capable of production.

Petronas’ interest in the project is via Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd in Mauritania, which it acquired for US$418mil. The sale included all of Woodside’s onshore and offshore producing, development, and exploration interests in Mauritania.

Petronas had in September last year said the acquisition of Woodside reflected its commitment and its long-term aspirations in Mauritania’s oil and gas industry and complemented its overall growth strategy in Africa.

Bloomberg quoted Tullow Oil Plc chief operating officer Paul McDade as saying the Banda field might hold between one trillion and 1.5 trillion cu ft of gas.

Tullow is a partner in the Banda venture and it has 24.3% stake while ROC Oil owns 4.15%. The operator, PC Mauritania I Pty Ltd, has a 53.84% stake.

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