Russian giant Lukoil has hit traces of oil with the first well drilled on the Orca prospect, in Block CI-401 off Cote d'Ivoire. “Oil samples were recovered from Campanian and Turonian sandstones during the course of drilling operations,” it said in a statement released today. Lukoil added that well data was "highly promising" and encouraged future drilling in the Tano-Ivoirian basin. The Orca-1X-b well was drilled to a total depth of 4015 metres below sea level using the Deepwater Pathfinder drillship. The well has now been plugged and temporarily abandoned.
Meanwhile, Lukoil has shot more than 3000 square kilometres of 3D seismic over the prospect which stretches over blocks CI-401 and CI-101. The location of the first exploration well in Block CI-101 is being defined, with drilling scheduled for 2011. Partners in the project are Lukoil (56.66%), operator Vanco (28.34%) and Petrochi (15%).