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Issue 210 - 04 June 2011

Upstream pointers: Morocco


Circle expands; Longreach farms into Sidi Moktar


The most successful IOCs exploring in Libya are those who agreed licences in 2003 at the end of the three-year EPSA-3 licensing process.


Despite gloomy predictions of recession, exploration has been buoyed by the high oil price and by Asian demand for gas. East Africa has arrived as a significant hydrocarbons industry play, writes Thalia Griffiths in Kampala

Kenya | Mozambique | Uganda | Tanzania

Norway’s DNO has reported that the Chite-1 exploration well in the Inhaminga Block failed to find hydrocarbons.

Issue 134 - 07 March 2008

Afren takes onshore gas blocks


Afren plc has signed production-sharing contracts for OPLs 917 and 907 in the Anambra Basin as part of its strategy to commercialise stranded gas assets.


London-based Soco International has begun a 2D marine seismic survey over Lake Edward on Block V in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Acquisition began on 26 April, using an environmentally sensitive technique of placing seismic recorders on the lake bed. The lake forms part of Block V, which also includes an area of the Virunga National Park, whose director Emmanuel de Mérode was shot and injured on 15 April after delivering a report on alleged violations of park rules by Soco to the prosecutor’s office in Goma.

DR Congo

Mogadishu-based Transitional Federal Government (TFG) prime minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has said that all contracts, including energy contracts, signed by the semi-autonomous Republic of Puntland,


Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has surprised many investors by declining to sign into law the embattled Petroleum Industry Governance Bill. Claiming the bill would divert scarce financial resources from state coffers, Buhari in late August struck a potentially lethal blow to petroleum reform. He may also have brought an anticlimactic end to almost two decades of tortuous legislative to and fro over petroleum reform, marked by extensive lobbying and concern from Shell, Eni, ExxonMobil, Total and other international partners.


Hyperdynamics lacks the cash to fund its well obligation and has yet to close a farm-out deal with South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPetro). President and chief executive Ray Leonard told a conference call with investors on 3 March that the company was ready to drill the deep-water Fatala well but lacked the necessary funds. With licence expiry looming in September, “the cash position has become critical” and the company is arranging bridge financing, he said.


IOCs are attracted to the Maghreb and Egypt, but each market poses its own problems, writes John Hamilton. While gas developments and exploration are advancing in Tunisia, and Morocco remains investor-friendly but seems to lack the resources to be more than a marginal play, international oil companies are facing a tougher time in the Maghreb than many expected when they entered promising exploration and production plays in Algeria and Libya.

Egypt | Libya | Algeria | Morocco | Tunisia

Oando Energy Resources (OER) has finally completed its acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian upstream oil and gas business for $1.5bn plus a deferred consideration of $33m, in a deal that will increase Oando’s production tenfold. The onshore assets consist of Phillips Oil Company Nigeria Limited, which holds a 20% non-operating interest in oil mining leases (OMLs) 60, 61, 62 and 63, as well as related infrastructure and facilities in the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) joint venture with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation with a 60% interest, and NAOC (20% and operator).


Madagascar Oil has declared its Tsimiroro discovery on Block 3104 commercial and plans to trial sales of its heavy crude to supply local power plants (AE 275/13). The London-listed company has 180 days from 8 May to submit a field development plan to state resource company Office des Mines Nationales et des Industries Stratégiques (Omnis) for approval. A management committee with members from Madagascar Oil and Omnis will then decide whether the discovery could be commercially exploitable, and Omnis will apply for a presidential decree for a mining title to cover an initial 25-year exploitation period.

Issue 189 - 26 June 2010

Doris wins Lucapa pre-FEED


Houston-based Doris has won the pre-front-end engineering and design contract for the Chevron-operated Lucapa field development in offshore Block 14


Schlumberger has pulled out of Ophir Energy’s Fortuna floating liquefied natural gas project after failing to agree terms, but Ophir says it is in talks with other potential partners and expects a final investment decision (FID) in Q4 this year.Ophir announced a non-binding heads of terms agreement with Schlumberger in January for upstream participation. Ophir said Schlumberger had completed technical due diligence but the companies had been unable to finalise the transaction.

Equatorial Guinea
Issue 269 - 16 January 2014

Tanzania: Ophir hits dry well in Block 7


London Stock Exchange-listed Ophir Energy has announced that its high-impact Mlinzi Mbali-1 well in offshore Block 7 failed to find hydrocarbons. The Deepsea Metro I drillship is now drilling the Sunbird well on Kenyan Block 10A for BG Group. It will then return to Tanzania, where wells are planned on Block 1 and on the Ophir-operated East Pande Block during H1 2014. Broker Investec said that, while Mlinzi was “a disappointment, the well was a high-risk prospect and only the first well in a 2014 programme that now includes up to ten wells, seven of which represent play openers”.