BP and American offshore company Kosmos have announced a major gas discovery in the BirAllah area offshore Mauritania while conducting drilling as part of a joint venture.

According to Kosmos, their Orca-1 well, on a previously untested Albian play, exceeded the estimated yield as it encountered a 36 meters of net gas pay in beneficial quality reservoirs. In addition, the well extended the Cenomanian play fairway by 11 meters of net gas pay in a down-structure position relative to the original Marsouin-1 discovery well, which was drilled on the crest of the anticline.

Kosmos chairman and CEO Andrew G. Inglis said: “The Orca-1 well concludes a very strong year for exploration and appraisal in Mauritania and Senegal.

“Orca-1, which we believe is the largest deepwater hydrocarbon discovery in the world so far this year, further demonstrates the world-scale quality of the Mauritania gas basin,” he added.

The company also highlighted that Orca’s location approximately 7.5 kilometers from the crest of the anticline  proved the trap of the Orca prospect, which Kosmos estimates contains 13 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Kosmos believes that Orca-1 and Marsouin-1 have de-risked up to 50 TCF of GIIP from the Cenomanian and Albian plays in the BirAllah area – enough to support a world-scale LNG project. In addition, a deeper, untested Aptian play has also been recognised within the area.

Partners in the BirAllah gas hub offshore Mauritania, include SMHPM, BP and Kosmos. According to the company the results continue the 100% success rate from nine wells targeting the inboard gas trend in Mauritania/Senegal.

Exploration and drilling activity in Mauritania has been increasing in the past few years with the main discovery in the area being the 15 Tcf Tortue field that straddles the maritime border of Mauritania and Senegal, which is expected to produce  gas in 2022.