An ultra- deepwater wildcat in the Laâyoune Basin offshore north-west Africa’s Western Sahara has hit non-commercial quantities of hydrocarbons.

Operator Kosmos Energy confirmed the frontier CB-1 exploration well in the Cap Boujdour permit area did hit hydrocarbons, penetrating approximately 14 m (46 ft) of net gas and condensate pay in clastic reservoirs over a gross hydrocarbon-bearing interval of approximately 500 m (1,640 ft).

The well, which targeted a prospect called Al Khayr, is now being plugged and abandoned by the Atwood Achiever drillship, said Kosmos. The probe was drilled 170 km offshore in 2,135 m (7,005 ft) of water to a total well depth of 5,700 m (18,702 ft).

Andrew G. Inglis, chairman and chief executive officer, said that while it was not a commercial find, the well had “significantly derisked further exploration by demonstrating a working petroleum system, including the presence of a hydrocarbon charge, as well as effective trap and seal”.

The Cap Boujdour block covers 22,000 sq km, over which additional 3-D seismic data was also recently acquired. A second potential well is expected to be drilled possibly later this year. In the meantime the Atwood Achiever drillship will now proceed to Mauritania to test the deepwater Tortue prospect.