You are here

BG Group finds first East Africa offshore oil column

17th June 2014

Pancontinental Oil and Gas has verified that the recently completed BG-operated Sunbird-1 well off the southern Kenyan coast has intersected an oil column – the first-ever oil discovered off the East African coast according to the joint venture partners

BG Group finds first East Africa offshore oil column
Pancontinental believes the results are highly significant because they are the first proof of the presence a prospective oil system in the Lamu Basin offshore Kenya

The gross oil column is assessed to be 14 metres thick beneath a gross gas column of 29.6 metres in a reefal limestone reservoir in the Sunbird Miocene Pinnacle Reef in area L10A.

The corresponding net values are 9.2 metres for the oil zone and 28.3 metres for the gas zone. The net values are calculated for the reservoir using cut-offs of 10 per cent porosity (Phi) and 50 per cent shale volume (Vsh). Oil and gas samples have been recovered and analysed using sophisticated geochemical techniques.

The Sunbird Reef is an ancient Miocene pinnacle reef buried beneath approximately 900 metres of younger sediment.

Pancontinental believes the results are highly significant because they are the first proof of a prospective oil system in the Lamu Basin offshore Kenya. The oil and gas have been geochemically typed in detail and the prospective source rocks have been dated and characterised for use in future exploration.

Analysis of the Sunbird results has been complicated by the loss of drilling mud, seawater and remedial cement pumped into the limestone reservoir during drilling operations.

BG Group, is continuing to analyse the well data and will recommend a future exploration programme using the well results.

Pancontinental’s Chief Executive Officer Barry Rushworth said the implications of the Sunbird-1 well results for regional oil exploration were truly outstanding.

“The Sunbird-1 oil is the historic first-ever oil discovery offshore Kenya,” said Rushworth.

'Furthermore, it is the only offshore oil column ever reported seaward of the eastern coastal margin of the African continent, from South Africa to the northwest tip of Somalia. We believe that this is a play-opening discovery in Kenya’s Lamu Basin. Because of the Sunbird discovery we expect to see a significant increase in industry interest offshore Kenya. We encountered a thick and effective seal over the top of the reef, which was an initial risk for us, and the regional follow-on implications of this are truly significant. Porosity, permeability and seal for the reservoir were all better than Pancontinental expected.

“Now that we know there is a prospective oil system in the Lamu Basin and we know the important technical details, we are in a prime position to explore for larger volumes of oil over our very extensive portfolio of prospects and leads. Pancontinental’s blocks offshore Kenya all contain Miocene Reefs, as well as numerous other types of geological targets. The Sunbird oil discovery has allowed us to geochemically type the oil source rocks, allowing the Joint Venture to effectively plan the way ahead for further oil exploration.”

The L10A joint venture is considering the details of follow-up exploration activities after the Sunbird-1 oil discovery. The Sunbird discovery has yielded important details of the oil system in the Lamu Basin, that are held confidential by the L10A joint venture, including the age and depositional environment of the source rock and the timing of the generation of the oil phase.

L10A covers a variety of play types, prospects and leads. Many of the prospects have been mapped using the two 3D seismic surveys carried out by the joint venture. The Sunbird Prospect is one of an inboard cluster of Miocene reefs. Outboard prospects include Tertiary and Cretaceous channels, large anticlinal complexes and Cretaceous and Tertiary fault-bounded prospects.

Other offshore Kenyan activity includes an exploration well to be drilled by Anadarko, as recently announced for later in 2014.

Got a news tip? Email