Sterling Energy has started a 3D seismic survey on a high-graded part of the Ambilobe Block, offshore Madagascar.

CGG Services is undertaking the survey, which is expected to be completed in 45 to 60 days.

Sterling Energy CEO Eskil Jersing said: "We are looking forward to safely and efficiently acquiring the first 3D seismic survey on the Ambilobe Block; providing valuable new data which will be used to identify potential drillable prospects.”

"We are looking forward to safely and efficiently acquiring the first 3D seismic survey on the Ambilobe Block; providing valuable new data which will be used to identify potential drillable prospects."

Awarded in 2004, the Ambilobe production sharing contract is in the second phase of the exploration period, which runs up to July 2016. The minimum work commitments for the existing phase have been completed.

In December 2013, Sterling farmed-out all costs related to the acquisition of the discretionary 3D seismic programme to Pura Vida Mauritius.

The company expects that the carry will cover the entire costs of the survey. Sterling operates the Ambilobe block with a 50% stake. Pura Vida holds the remaining 50% interest.

Several large Cretaceous and Tertiary leads have been found in both shallow and deep waters. They will be developed into potential drillable prospects.

Sterling said the Ambilobe Basin is a northeast-southwest trending basin with a thick Jurassic to Tertiary sedimentary fill.

Fieldwork has discovered various reservoir intervals in the Middle to Late Cretaceous, with thick, high quality sands observed at outcrop.