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Tullow hits oil at Sierra Leone well

A CONSORTIUM of oil companies including UK-listed Tullow Oil said yesterday they discovered a deepwater oil well off the coast of Sierra Leone. <br /><br />Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum, which leads the group, said its Venus B well has an &ldquo;active petroleum system&rdquo;, and said the find raised hopes for more than 30 other prospects the companies have in that part of West Africa.<br /><br />The oil firms said the discovery potentially opens up a new, 1,100 km-wide, multi-billion-barrel oil frontier in the region.<br /><br />Tullow, led by chief executive Aidan Heavey, and its partners believe the field could be one of a string of reservoirs that stretch from Ghana to Sierra Leone, across the Ivory Coast and Liberia.<br /><br />&ldquo;The significance of Venus-B&rsquo;s success is that it would bring into play a whole series of prospects that could mirror Jubilee in size,&rdquo; Richard Griffith at Evolution Securities said.<br /><br />Tullow Oil has a 10 per cent stake in the project, Anadarko holds a 40 per cent stake, while Spain&rsquo;s Repsol and Australia&rsquo;s Woodside Petroleum hold 25 per cent each. <br /><br />&ldquo;Venus could contain around 200m barrels of oil, making it a very significant discovery,&rdquo; said Bernstein oil analyst Ben Dell, using the Jubilee field in Ghana, which has a similar geology, as a guide.<br /><br />The Jubilee field in Ghana has a resource potential of up to 1.8bn barrels of crude, according to Tullow, Europe&rsquo;s largest independent oil explorer by market value.<br /><br />Italian rival Eni is thought to be interested in making a bid for Tullow, which a member of the FTSE 100.<br /><br />Shares in Tullow closed up 8.4 per cent at 1,187p.