Mauritania Exploration: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Chevron has entered the Mauritanian deepwater – going against the grain of majors cutting back frontier spending. But the country’s dominant player Tullow Oil is dramatically scaling back its activity.

UK-listed Tullow has shares in ten blocks offshore Mauritania, seven of which it operates. But it now plans no further exploration drilling for the foreseeable future. Development of its 1.5 tcf Banda prospect has been shelved, and it is selling a stake in another block.

Tullow’s 2014 results on 11 February were a somber occasion. Net debt soared 63% to $3.1bn and 2013’s $380mn profit turned into a whopping $2bn loss as the firm wrote off $1.26bn of exploration spending, of which almost half ($568mn) relates to Mauritania. (CONTINUED - 1067 WORDS)