The British-based Tullow Oil PLC Monday said it had stopped drilling for oil in the Jaguar well off the coast of Guyana due to safety concerns even though it had already discovered some oil in the shallower parts of the well.
Tullow and its partners, Canada-based CGX Energy , a division of Argentina’s YPF, and Spain’s Repsol , were hoping the Jaguar well would strike oil and help open up a new oil province in South America.
“The decision to stop drilling at this point was unanimously agreed by all partners based on safety criteria,” Tullow said.
It said the well, which it had been drilling for five months and which is on an exploration licence where it has a 30 per cent stake, was stopped from going deeper due to the high levels of pressure encountered which the well could not handle.
The Jaguar well was a “high pressure, high temperature” well, similar to the one that caused an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Samples of light oil were recovered from the well even though it did not reach its deeper main target, Tullow said. Last year, Tullow made a big oil discovery to the east of Guyana adding it hopes to prove its geological theory that the oil-rich West African rocks of Ghana will be replicated across the Atlantic in South America.