US’ Cobalt reports $128m loss, caused by Angola well costs

Pre-Salt-Area-Offshore-Angola30 April 2013, Houston – Houston, Texas-based company, Cobalt International, has reported an expansion in its net loss in the first quarter of this year over last year’s figures.
This is a result of an impairment charge on drilling of a well off Angola, according to the company.

The US independent recorded a net loss of $128.1 million, compared with a $36.5 million reversal a year earlier, that included the $66 million impairment of costs related to the Cameia-2 drillstem test of an earlier discovery in the Kwanza basin that failed to flow oil at a deeper interval.

Cobalt was left with a cash reserve of $2.5 billion at the end of the latest quarter, while its expenditure of around $179 million during the period was in line with an estimate of between $750 million and $900 million for this year as a whole.

The explorer is participating in several frontier pre-salt wells being drilled off West Africa, including Total’s recently spudded Diaman-1 probe in the Diaba block off Gabon and the Mavinga-1 prospect on Block 21 off Angola, where Diamond Offshore rig Ocean Confidence is on location and set to start drilling shortly.

Cobalt is also looking to drill the Lontra-1 pre-salt well in Angola’s Block 20 soon using Petroserv newbuild rig SSV Catarina.

Results from Mavinga and Lontra, both operated by Cobalt with a 40% stake, are expected in the second half of 2013.

The company is also active in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, where it is currently drilling the Ardennes-1 exploration well in Green Canyon Block 896 with results expected mid-year.

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