Shell and joint venture partners Pavilion Energy and Ophir Energy have started a drilling programme covering two wells in Block 1 and 4, located in the Mafia Deep basin off Tanzania.

The rig supporting the programme, Noble Globe Trotter 2, was due to begin operations towards the end of October and will drill in water depths of 2,300m.  

The JV partners will invest around $80m into the well drilling programmes.

"The JV partners will invest around $80m into the well drilling programmes."

These two wells will meet the remaining exploration requirements according to exploration licences issued by Tanzania's Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM).

In February, Shell became the operator of the two blocks following its combination with BG Group, and has been working closely with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) and MEM to deliver the two wells safely.

The development of Blocks 1 and 4 is part of the Tanzania LNG project, which is a crucial part of the country's national energy policy under the Vision 2025.

Shell and its Block 1 and 4 partners are working with TPDC and other Block 2 partners on future development of Tanzania LNG.

This project is being developed when the industry is facing historically low oil prices.