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Exploation History

The International Indian Ocean Expedition in the 60’s brought  the British research vessels RRS Discovery and HMS Owen to the Seychelles waters and this started a wave of scientific investigation in the region.
The turn of the 1970s witnessed the first reflection seismic in the region when Mobil included the Seychelles Plateau and some of the adjacent banks on a regional survey from East Africa to Sri Lanka. These data, coupled with 470 km of reconnaissance seismic by Burmah Oil over the plateau in 1973, revealed a recognizably block faulted sequence overlain by a flat-lying sequence comparable to a rift-drift succession, with the sedimentary section reaching at least 6 km in thickness.
This initial effort was then followed by an influx of petroleum companies starting in 1977.  The list includes Amoco, Texaco, Lasmo and Enterprise Oil.  These companies acquired a large amount of 2D seismic and other geophysical data.




The first exploratory wells in the Seychelles were drilled by Amoco in 1980/81.  Three wells, Reith Bank-1, Seagull Shoals-1 and Owen Bank A1 were drilled back to back. Although no commercial hydrocarbons were encountered, all the three wells encountered oil and gas shows which proved that a working hydrocarbon system was present in the Seychelles.



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A new agreement was signed with Enterprise Oil Plc, a London based company in 1986 and the company acquired seismic in 1987. This was followed by the signing of two further agreements in 1990 with Texaco and Ultramar.  Further seismic were acquierd by the companies and in 1995 Enterprise oil drilled the 4th and last exploratory well in the Seychelles to date.  The well  failed to reach the target pre-Tertiary clastic sediments and Td’d in Paleocene volcanics at a depth of 3400m. A period of 10 years lapsed from the Enterprise Oil well to the signing of a new agreement with a US based company, Petroquest International in 2005.  This was then followed by the signing of a new agreement with East Africa Exploration in 2008.  Petroquest International was later taken over by an Australian Based company, WHL Energey and Afren took over EAX. 


The Japan Oil Gas and Metals National Corporation, JOGMEC, holds an exploration license.