Woodside consortium to invest in Mauritania

Jan 07, 2004 01:00 AM

A consortium led by Woodside, Australia's biggest independent oil and gas group, is expected to invest up to $ 500 mm in Mauritania after giving the go-ahead to commercial development of the country's Chinguetti field. The move is the latest sign of increased oil interest in the waters of the impoverished African country.
Another partner, Premier Oil of the UK, said that the Chinguetti offshore oil field would go ahead, with production starting late next year or early in 2006. It also comes as Woodside, which in the past two years has sought to diversify away from its Australian base, is finding success in a drilling programme at Tiof, another offshore Mauritanian field.

The Chinguetti field will be developed using a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit. The contract for the FPSO is already out to tender. Chinguetti is expected to produce 50,000-75,000 bpd.
"[The Chinguetti development] will provide the foundation for building a sustainable business in Africa based on our Mauritanian discoveries," said Ian Jackson, head of Woodside's African businesses.

The consortium, which also includes Hardman Resources, a London-listed Australian oil company, did not specify the likely cost of the development but Woodside, as the project operator, has suggested up to $ 500 mm in the past.
Chinguetti was Woodside's first African discovery. The field was first drilled in 2001 and was followed in 2002 by Woodside's Banda oil and gas discovery, and Tiof in 2003. Hardman has estimated that Chinguetti contains recoverable reserves of at least 142 mm barrels. Woodside holds 54 % of the Chinguetti field, while Hardman has 33 %, and Premier just under 10 %.

Source: The Financial Times
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