UK independent Tullow Oil will start drilling the first oil and gas exploration well off French Guiana in March, according to the company’s exploration director Angus McCoss.

A drilling rig is already on the way to the region from the Gulf of Mexico, McCoss told reporters on the sidelines of the Energy Institute conference in London.

It is unclear how long the well will take to drill because of the unknown geology of the area, he was quoted as saying by Dow Jones.

Tullow and its licence partners, Shell and Total, hope geological structures off French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname could be similar to those on the other side of the Atlantic in West Africa, where large oil discoveries have been made.

Following the completion of the presidential election in Uganda last week, McCoss said Tullow is hopeful there can now be a swift resolution to a dispute over capital gains tax that has held up its plans for oil development for more than six months.