Joint venture partner Tower Resources revealed on Wednesday the drilling programme would be delayed due to a fault with part of the blowout preventer control system on the drillship Rowan Renaissance.
It added that Repsol and Rowan were working to rectify the problem but said the issues with the BOP would likely delay further drilling until the end of the month.
“It is not unusual to encounter technical issues with new equipment and in particular BOPs on-board a new drill-ship such as the Rowan Renaissance,” Tower chairman Jeremy Asher said.
“However, safety is of paramount importance to Tower and its JV Partners and we are confident that Repsol and Rowan will resolve the BOP issues shortly and we look forward to informing the market when drilling recommences. These issues have no connection with the prospects for the well itself, which remain as exciting as ever”.
Repsol has already faced delays to drilling the Welwitschia prospect, with the Welwitschia-1 spudding last month.
However, following the initial spud and installation of the 36-inch casing it was observed that the wellhead housing had slumped and the decision was made to plug and abandon the well and drill the Welwitschia-1A well about 50 metres away.
The new well was spudded on 1 May and there was no recurrence of the problem before drilling was halted by the BOP problems.
Despite the delays, Tower said it believed the well would still be completed within budget, adding the cost implications were still being examined by the joint venture.
Tower said the well was currently at a depth of 1879 metres and the primary target is expected to be intersected soon after drilling recommences.
The Welwitschia prospect is believed to have multi-billion barrel upside potential and is being drilled to evaluate primary and secondary target reservoirs in both the Maastrichtian and Aptian-Albian reservoir sequences.
Repsol operates PEL 0010 with a 44% stake and is partnered by Tower on 30% and Arcadia with a 26% interest.