Melbana Energy Cuban joint venture spuds second big exploration well

The Australian company Melbana announces the discovery of "high quality oil" in Cuba

HAVANA, May 23th Melbanas’s second of two large oil exploration wells is underway in Cuba as a follow-up to the promising Alameda-1 oil discovery.Drilling of the Zapato-1 exploration well began on 21 May in Block 9 onshore Cuba.

Operator Melbana Energy said Zapato-1 will test a target with a best estimate prospective resource of 95 million barrels of oil, with a 23% chance of success.

Melbana’s assessment is that the large Zapato structure (with nearly 1000 metres of vertical relief) may be the primary structure, and thus the source of oil for the shallow Motembo oilfield discovered in the late 19th century that reportedly contained a very light oil at the surface.

Melbana is partnered in Block 9 by Sonangol, the national oil company of Angola. Melbana said it has a 30% interest with Sonangol meeting 85% of the exploration costs.

The first well in the campaign — Alameda-1 — encountered up to 300 meters of net hydrocarbon pay across three independent zones, but early and short tests of the deeper oil intervals could not be done effectively using the current well design due to high formation pressures.

The joint venture aims to do this testing following the completion of Zapato-1.