Shares in AIM listed oil and gas company Wessex Exploration (LON:WSX) fell by 6% to 2.6p this morning on news of delays during the drilling of a well on its acreage offshore Guyane, South America. Wessex holds a 1.25% interest in the Guyane Maritime block, which is operated by Tullow Oil (LON:TLW) and includes Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) as a majority stake holder. Tullow has previously described its initial drilling target, the Late Cretaceous Zaedyus prospect, as similar to its hugely successful Jubilee field offshore Ghana. However, in it its half-year results today Tullow said that delays had occurred largely as a result of drilling in a new basin with little or no comparative data.

Tullow also blamed the slower than expected progress on the fact that the ENSCO 8503 rig had been forced to handle periods of increased ocean currents and some hole instability. The company said the final section of the GM-ES-1x well was now being drilled and results are expected in September. In response to the update, Wessex reiterated that it had adequate funds to meet its financial obligations with regard to the drilling of the well.

Wessex was admitted to AIM in March this year after previously raising £1.875 million via an open offer and placing in October 2010 when it was trading on PLUS. The company is chaired by David Bramhill, previously of Nighthawk Energy (LON:HAWK), who also runs another AIM exploration and production business, Bluebird Energy (LON:BBE).

Earlier this month Bluebird announced an operation and strategic review of its business – less that six weeks after the company floated on AIM. The review was triggered by news that Running Foxes Petroleum Inc, Bluebird’s partner on the Centurion project in Kansas, US, had sold 60% of its 50% stake in the project. At the time of its flotation in July, when its raised £2 million in a share placing, Bluebird said its focus in the first half of 2011 had been largely on the further development of the Centurion project where there are six wells on production. It said it was also evaluating unconventional gas projects in Europe. Announcing the review last…

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