A REVIEW of historical data of block 9 in Cuba has encouraged MEO Australia, with the company saying results indicate a widespread and prolific petroleum system.

Historical drilling results along with the previously produced Motembo field and the extensive natural seeps and tar deposits have led the company to this conclusion announced in early February.

Wells previously drilled in block 9 which have recovered oil according to MEO’s results include Guadal 1, Marti 5 and Bolanos 1.

In its February announcement, MEO said initial analysis has identified the presence of a number of prospective structural trends on Block 9.

In addition the potential for a significant number of additional structural leads and prospects has been identified during preliminary interpretation of existing seismic data.

A program to reprocess some of the existing 2D seismic data has commenced.

Reprocessing aims to improve data quality.

MEO expects to conclude its preliminary assessment of the prospectivity of block 9 and the seismic reprocessing project by mid-year.

MEO managing director Peter Stickland said Cuba block 9 represents the company’s highest priority asset for near term value creation.

“Early 2016 will be an exciting time for this asset, with the completion of major reviews currently underway that will confirm block 9’s potential and future growth plans.”

“Interpretation of the data that has been received so far suggests a rich petroleum system is present, that there are a number of old wells that have tested oil and there are a significant number of prospective structural trends in block 9.”

“MEO’s early mover positioning in Cuba holds significant potential.”

“The low operating costs in Cuba supports strong profitability levels even in depressed oil price conditions and the improving diplomatic relations with the US is expected to drive substantial foreign investment over the coming years,” he added.

Block 9 production sharing contract covers 238,000 hectares onshore the north coast of Cuba and was executed in September 2015.

The exploration period of block 9 is split into four sub-periods with withdrawal options at the end of each sub-period, MEO said.

The first sub-period is involves evaluating the existing exploration data in the block and reprocessing selected 2D seismic data before determining whether to proceed with a subsequent 24 month exploration sub-period that includes acquisition of new 2D seismic data.

MEO has secured a 100 per cent interest in block 9, subject to a conditional 40% back-in option which is held by Petro Australis.