The Toronto-listed explorer said its Bahasi-1 well is being plugged and abandoned having hit only minor gas shows after being drilled to a depth of 2900 metres in Block 9, operated by Africa Oil on 50% with partner Marathon Oil holding the remaining 50%.
The probe was targeting a pre-drill resource estimate of 320 million barrels of oil in the Anza Graben area in a Cretaceous basin believed to be a possible extension of a South Sudan trend where 6 billion barrels of oil have been discovered to date.
The play concept has been confirmed with the earlier Paipai discovery farther north in adjacent Block 10A, according to the company.
Africa Oil is now settings its sights on the next well in the block with Great Wall Drilling rig 190 to be mobilised to drill the Sala-1 probe on the north-east flank of the basin, which is targeting estimated resources of 402 million barrels of oil and due to be completed by the end of the first quarter.
The Sala prospect is located updip from the earlier Bogal gas discovery made in 2010.
Chief executive Keith Hill said the company was disappointed with the failure to find hydrocarbons at both Bahasi and the Tultule prospect in Ethiopia, drilled in partnership with operator Tullow Oil.
However, he said “we are still confident we will unlock other productive basins” on a similar trend to the prolific South Lokichar basin that has yielded a host of finds for the pair – including Ngamia and Twiga South – with six drilling rigs targeting a raft of prospects across a vast region that intersects Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda.
Meanwhile, drilling is ongoing at the Amosing prospect south-east of the Ngamia find in Block 10BB in northern Kenya with a pre-drill resource estimate of 172 million barrels and the well is expected to be completed by the end of January.
The explorer is also set to start drilling shortly at the Ewoi prospect in the same block, updip from the recent Etuko discovery, with a pre-drill resource prognosis of 317 million barrels of oil.
In addition, a further 3D seismic shoot is set to start by year-end over the western flank of the South Lokichar basin.