Anadarko discovers east African bounty

Bruce Bullock of SMU Maguire Energy Institute talks about Anadarko's natural gas discovery in eastern Africa.

The Houston Chronicle

In what is being called the first significant deep-water discovery off Africa's east coast, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has struck natural gas about 30 miles from the shores of Mozambique.

Anadarko, an oil and natural gas producer based in The Woodlands, announced Thursday a find of more than 480 net feet of natural gas pay in a well drilled to a depth of about 14,000 feet nearly a mile underwater in the frontier basin of Rovuma.

Bob Daniels, the company's senior vice president for worldwide exploration, described the sizable find in a statement as “a strong indication of the potential of this basin.”

The discovery bodes well for the more than 50 other leads and prospects Anadarko has identified off east Africa.

“It's potentially very significant not just for Anadarko, but for the region,” said Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Bullock said until recent years, deep-water exploration off Africa's east coast had largely been overlooked for the more prolific fields on the other side of the continent in countries including Angola and Nigeria. Incentives offered by the Mozambique government have spurred more interest in acquiring offshore acreage over the last decade, he said.

“If they find more of these kinds of fields and if this proves to be, with further testing and further wells, a fairly significant find, it means there could be more in east Africa to come,” Bullock said.

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