Drilling of Tai Prospect in Rukwa Basin, Tanzania on track for 3Q 2023 following the
acquisition of Epiroc Predator 220 drilling rig and completed mobilisation to Tanzania
Helium One Global (AIM: HE1), the primary helium explorer in Tanzania, is pleased to provide an update on progress at its Rukwa (100% Operated) project area including details of its Phase II drilling programme.
· Successful acquisition of an Epiroc Predator 220 drilling rig
· Rig is suitable for operations and was signed off independently by international rig inspection and audit company ADC Energy Ltd (“ADC”) in July 2022
· Rig is currently being mobilised to the Rukwa site
· Rig will be used to drill the Tai-C well in Q3 2023 with a target September spud date
· Rig ownership provides a platform that will enable the Company to move quickly into an appraisal phase upon success at Tai-C, and allow accelerated exploration on the Rukwa, Eyasi and Balangida projects
· Civils work on Tai-C well pad and access roads already underway
· Contract executed with leading energy technology company, Baker Hughes, for their services on wireline, cementing and fluids
· GeoLog International BV (“GeoLog”) contracted for mudlogging services
Successful acquisition of drilling rig and mobilisation to wellsite in progress
Following the extensive evaluation of rig options and in order to remain on the critical path to a Q3 spud, the Company has successfully completed the acquisition of an Epiroc Predator 220 drilling rig – an oil and gas type rig capable of drilling to depths in excess of 2,000m. The rig is now in Tanzania and is currently being mobilised to the Rukwa site. This is a highly significant achievement for the Company as ownership of the rig provides the opportunity to move quickly into further exploration drilling and, in a success case, allow the appraisal of Tai without the additional cost of keeping a rig on standby or become challenged by mobilising a rig into country again.
The Company has an inspection report of the rig from 2022 which confirms that the rig is in good condition and a more recent inspection by the Company, prior to acquisition, has confirmed it remains in working order. The Company will now focus on securing an experienced crew ahead of drilling operations.
Long lead items such as drill bits, bottom hole assemblies, casing and drill pipe that the Company had already purchased for the Drillmec HH102 rig are compatible with the Epiroc Predator 220 rig, and this will keep additional cost spend to a minimum. Some of this equipment has already been mobilised to site in anticipation of the forthcoming operations.
The Company has now terminated its association with SOFORI after having previously served a notice of rectification.
Rukwa civils work underway and third-party drilling services executed
The Company has already commenced the ground works for the construction of the Tai-C well pad, camp and access roads at its Rukwa site. The civils work is being carried out by TNR Ltd (“TNR”), a Tanzanian company, and is expected to be completed by mid-August 2023.
The Company has also executed a contract with leading energy technology company, Baker Hughes, who will provide wireline services as well as cementing and drilling chemicals and fluids for the Tai-C well.
GeoLog International BV (“GeoLog”) have been contracted for their mudlogging services. GeoLog were contracted on the Tai-1/-1A well and did an excellent job in terms of gas monitoring and surface logging, and the Company is pleased to be using them again on Tai-C.
Updated timeline of Operations
Having now secured a rig in Tanzania, the Company is focused on ensuring the rig is ready to commence drilling Operations in September. Once the civils work is complete, the rig will be mobilised to the Tai-C wellsite. In the meantime, the Company will order remaining well control equipment, await the arrival of drill pipe and source an experienced crew. The Company has already mobilised drill bits, wellheads and casing to site at Rukwa.
Ian Stalker, Chairman, commented:
“I am pleased to note the above significant progress made with our efforts to ensure we drill our exciting Tai Prospect in Rukwa with a recently upgraded P50 Helium resource of 2.8 Bcf. This is indeed a milestone event for the Company and opens up a range of ancillary options for the Company as well as, most importantly, securing the control of our own drilling programme and any future appraisal and further exploration activities.”
“This is an event I am pleased to share with our supportive and resilient shareholders. This rig acquisition is a strategic move in ensuring fast track appraisal and development in a success case at Tai. The rig has been mobilised from the East Africa region and, when compared to mobilising rigs in from elsewhere, the cost differential is significant- in simple terms more cost effective and time efficient.”
“Mobilising the rig and component parts to Tanzania in such short order is a very significant achievement and a testament to the team. Our CEO and the entire team from top to bottom have taken the decisive action necessary and worked tirelessly to ensure we can still fulfil our Q3 drilling programme as we had previously outlined. We are looking forward to an exciting Q3, getting the rig to Rukwa and drilling Tai-C. To say it’s exciting for us at Helium One is truly an understatement -onwards!!”
Lorna Blaisse, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
“We are delighted to finally have reached this significant milestone of securing a rig for our Q3 drilling programme in Rukwa. This enables us to execute on what we set out to do and drill the Tai-C well. Having acquired a rig which is now in country, as well as civils and well pad preparations underway, we are on track for a Q3 spud date and we can now move forward and focus on executing a safe and successful drilling programme.”
“The next critical path is to mobilise the rig to the Tai-C wellsite, carry out the relevant checks post mobilisation, source an experienced crew and purchase the remaining long lead items to enable drilling operations to commence in September.”
“This has been an exceptional effort by all the team to ensure we had an executable option after recent disappointments and setbacks, in order to still fulfil our Q3 drilling target. I am very thankful to them for their tireless efforts over the past few months and I’m confident we have an excellent team in place to deliver the next phase of the project as well as any appropriate follow-on campaigns.”
“We look forward to providing further updates as appropriate.”
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