The well, which is off the coast of Tanzania, was the first in a series of high-impact, high-risk wells that the oil company will be drilling through 2014.
Drilling has now stopped at Mlinzi Mbali-1, which was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
Chief executive Nick Cooper said:
This frontier well disappointingly did not encounter live hydrocarbons, however it is the deepest stratigraphic test offshore Tanzania and will provide crucial information that will be integrated into our interpretation of the potential of Block 7 and the wider deepwater basins of Tanzania.
Shares are currently down over seven per cent at 305p.