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Sierra Leone waits on Venus call

Sierra Leone’s Energy Minister Ogunlade Davidson said today that commerciality of the Venus B-1 find had not yet been established.

Davidson told Reuters: “We have not yet established that the oil they have found out is in commercial quantities….In about a year’s time we should be in a far better position.”

Last September, an Anadarko-lead consortium said it had hit 45 net feet of pay with the Venus B-1 probe, the first well drilled off Sierra Leone.

At the time, analysts said the discovery had the potential to open up a multi-billion barrel oil frontier in West Africa.

Venus B-1, in Block SL 6/7 at the western end of the Liberian basin, was drilled by the Belford Dolphin drillship and reached a total depth of about 18,500 feet – deeper than planned – intercepting a number of pay packages.

Anadarko officials describe the find as a technical success but have not declared it commercial, though they believe it could hold more pay than so far confirmed.

The 45 feet of pay sands announced by the operator were only those saturated with hydrocarbons, but these, while relatively thin, could cover a significant area, Anadarko officials said.

They also indicated other reservoir packages were found but declined to specify the type of hydrocarbon, though well watchers suspect it was mainly oil.

Meanwhile, Davidson said Sierra Leone was seeking to raise its own domestic competence for managing any future oil sector and making the most of revenues.

“In the oil business if you don’t build capacity, you lose out. We are training statisticians, geologists. We don’t want to just collect the royalties. We have to be very much involved.”


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