Posted 06.01.2012 11:46:15 av John Bradbury Operator BG International has kicked off a major new exploration drilling program e offshore East Africa with a series of three planned wells. Newbuild drillship Odfjell Metro l has just spudded the first hole in a three well campaign which comprises Jodari 1 and Mzia 1 deepwater wells in block 1 offshore Tanzania, and Papa 1. Currently the Metro 1 drillship is drilling the top-hole section of the Mzia 1 well which is expected to take up to ten days, in a water depth of 1,500 metres (4,920 feet), in order to maximise drilling efficiency. Next the drillship is to tackle Jodari 1, in a water depth of 1,155 metres (3,788 feet) which will be drilled to a depth of 4,600 m (15,088 ft) subsea, aiming for an estimated 2.2 Trillion cubic feet of gas in block 1 in Tertiary and Cretaceous zones. Drilling on Jodari 1 is estimated at 40 days. On completion of Jodari 1, the drillship will return to complete the Mzia 1 well and then drill Papa-1, BG's third operated Tanzania well, partner Ophir Energy reports today. Ophir holds 40% of blocks 1, 3 and 4 offshore Tanzania and the company says it has now fully handed over operatorship of the blocks to BG International, which will manage the programme with the Metro-1 drillship, with 60% block equity. Updating other Tanzania operations today, Ophir said it has also commenced acquisition of 3D seismic data over its East Pande licence area with the Fugro Geo Caribbean ship which began acquiring 2,200 sq. km of 3D data on 30 December 2011. This work is expected to take up to 40 days, to provide data for maturing prospects for possible drilling later this year. Ophir operates East Pande with 70%. In Equatorial Guinea, Ophir says it is shortly due to conclude negotiations for a rig to carry out a three to four well exploration drilling campaign over block R, where the company is planning to prove up reserves for a second LNG train, as well as explore the Tonel and Silenus prospects and appraise the earlier Fortuna 1 discovery.