Nairobi, Kenya — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 19 August 2011 – Canadian oil and gas explorer Africa Oil Corporation says it has signed a contract for a drilling rig for two exploration wells it plans to sink in Africa’s Puntland region of Somalia with its partners.
Earlier in the year, Africa Oil said it planned to drill up to eight exploratory wells in blocks it held interests in across east Africa, two of which would be in the semi-autonomous Puntland region.
“We are very pleased to have signed a drilling rig contract and to have procured the required services to allow us to commence drilling operations in Puntland,” Africa Oil president and chief executive Keith Hill said in a statement here.
The company revealed that it had awarded a contract to Sakson Drilling and Oil Services for a 1,500 horsepower rig.
The two wells will be drilled in the Dharoor Valley Block, in which it has a partnership with Range Resources and Red Emperor to drill areas targeting gross best estimated prospective resources of over 300 million barrels each, Africa oil said.
“The majority of the drilling-related third party service contracts have now been entered into, which is expected to allow for the spudding of the first well during the fourth quarter of this year,” Range Resources said in a separate statement.
Gas discoveries in Tanzania, and significant proven oil reserves along the border between Uganda and the DRC, have encouraged interest in the region, which had been largely overlooked until recently.