The Diaman-1B deep-water well on the Diaba Block off Gabon hit 50-55 metres of net pay in the target pre-salt formations, drilling partner Cobalt International Energy said.
The well was drilled to a total depth of 5585 metres and “has successfully confirmed the existence of a working petroleum system,” Houston-based Cobalt revealed on Monday.
Total was targeting a 250 million-barrel to 850 million-barrel prospect at Diaman which is in 1729 metres of water.
“Early indications are that the discovered hydrocarbons are gas with condensate,” Cobalt continued.
“A full analysis of the hydrocarbon encountered in the sandstone reservoirs will be conducted.”
Total later confirmed the discovery in a statement on the website of its local operation in Gabon.
The wildcat is the first pre-salt deep-water well to be drilled off Gabon which is not a hydrocarbons powerhouse in West Africa.
Oil production in Gabon, which has been declining for 15 years, averaged about 250,000 barrels per day last year and is not forecast to rise significantly.
A number of small onshore and offshore finds may see output edge up during the next five years.
As Upstream reported earlier this month, further impetus to Gabon’s hydrocarbon sector could come from two wildcats that Shell plans to drill this year in the BC 9 and BCD 10 deep-water licences.
Next year, Ophir Energy will target a 1.15 billion-barrel pre-salt structure called Padouck Deep in its deep-water Ntsina licence.
If Diaman-1 in particular is successful, then companies will be knocking at the door of the about the Ministry of Oil, Energy and Water Resources, led by Minister Etienne Ngoubou, seeking access to what could be a major deep-water pre-salt province. Also attractive to the industry will be Gabon’s potential shallow water pre-salt pay.