Tullow, the largest independent oil explorer in Europe, said the discovery was substantial and of excellent quality.
London-based Tullow owns a 49.95 per cent stake in the Tano licence, which struck a significant column of light oil in the Owo well, around 2.5km under the sea bed.
“It continues the success of Tullow’s equatorial exploration campaign in West Africa. We’re very well-exposed to the upside in this play,” said Tullow exploration director Angus McCoss.
Discussions are at an advanced stage between Tullow and its partners in the licence, including US oil firms Kosmos Energy and Anadarko Petroleum, about procuring another rig in the region.
Oriel Securities analyst Richard Rose said the result was “unequivocally positive” and provided encouragement over the potential of the neighbouring Tweneboa area, which Tullow hopes will deliver oil later this year.
Tullow said it plans to appraise the rest of the Owo field straight away, to determine the exact size of the deposit found yesterday and locate further well sites. It will update its estimates in August.
Tullow also has operations in Uganda, Liberia and Sierra Leone and is planning for further expansion in the next twelve months. Its plans in the Democratic Republic of Congo are on hold after authorities stripped the firm of its exploration blocks and handed them to smaller companies.