Tanzanian gas discovery fails to delight Ophir’s investors

Suzie Neuwirth
OPHIR Energy’s first discovery in almost a year was not enough to reassure investors yesterday, sending its share price down over two per cent.

The Africa-focused energy explorer estimated one trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas could be retrievable from the Taachui-1 ST1 well, in block one of a field located off Tanzania.

FTSE 250-listed Ophir owns 20 per cent of blocks one, three and four in the area. Ophir’s larger peer BG group operates and owns a 60 per cent stake.

“This…follows three high profile well failures in the past six months and so the news should be helpful for sentiment,” said Mark Henderston, analyst at Westhouse Securities. “The discovery was, however, made in the prolific block one, which has already yielded more than 5tcf of discoveries, and the suggested recoverable resource of 1tcf appears a little shy of the 1.3tcf prospective resource Ophir had communicated to the market.”

The company said the discovery could extend into a similar sized discovery to the west, but an appraisal well will be required to confirm this and is under consideration by the joint venture partners.

A drill stem test will now be performed on the Taachui discovery with results expected before the end of June.

Ophir made two spurned takeover approaches for Premier Oil in April. Shares closed down 2.5 per cent.