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Algeria has won what may prove a pyrrhic victory by blocking Total’s takeover of some of its most strategically important oil fields and forcing Anadarko Petroleum Corporation’s new owner, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, to retain an investment that it did not want but which at least can generate considerable income. Having agreed to maintain operations under the old Anadarko Algeria Corporation name, Occidental president and chief executive Vicki Hollub on 6 May called Algeria a “core asset” – albeit one that could potentially be sold “if we got an incoming offer for Algeria that was something that we couldn’t refuse”.

Algeria
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Algeria’s energy authorities have staked their upstream strategy and their international credibility on the largest licensing round ever held in the country. It is the first to be held since amendments to the hydrocarbons law were passed in January 2013, so will test whether commercial terms have been improved enough to attract substantial international interest. The perimeters on offer include a high proportion of frontier and unconventional resources as well as licences in areas which are both more prospective and well-connected to existing pipeline and processing infrastructure.

Algeria
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Algiers received just six offers and awarded only three of the ten perimeters on offer in the second licensing roundto be managed by industry regulator Agence Nationale pour laValorisation des Resources en Hydrocarbures (Alnaft). Theresults, announced on 20 December, were little better than in December 2008,when four perimeters out of 16 were awarded in the first Alnaft round. Alnaft reported that “36 companies had attended the data rooms resulting in 134 consultations”. But this level of interest (much lower than in the 2008 round) did not translate into the hoped for pile of bids.

Algeria
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Operator Ophir Energy has announced that the Padouck Deep-1 well on the Ntsina Block found only minor hydrocarbon shows. Ophir said the key pre-drill risk was seal and trap integrity, and the lack of the anticipated thin salt drape over the prospect and the lack of sealing shales within the targeted reservoirs appeared to be behind the well’s failure. The Vantage Titanium Explorer rig will now move to the Gnondo Block to drill the Affanga Deep prospect, to be followed by the Okala pre-salt prospect on the Mbeli Block.

Gabon
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Ophir Equatorial Guinea (Block R) Ltd has awarded the upstream construction contract for the Fortuna floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) project to Subsea Integration Alliance, a partnership between Schlumberger’s OneSubsea and Subsea 7. The contract is structured as an engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract for the subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines, and for the subsea production systems scope of work.

Equatorial Guinea
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Equatorial Guinea has launched a big drive to explore the Rio Muni Basin, with Kosmos Energy and Ophir Energy taking new blocks. Kosmos announced an agreement in October 2017 to acquire exploration blocks S, W and EG-21, as well as Hess’s producing Ceiba and Okume fields, while Ophir has taken EG-24, which borders São Toméan waters, where Kosmos has interests in six blocks. Mines and hydrocarbons minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima said Rio Muni stood out in the region as relatively unexplored compared to neighbouring Gabon and Cameroon.

Equatorial Guinea
Issue 381 - 22 November 2018

Namibia: Tower Resources returns

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Tower Resources has signed a new petroleum agreement for an 80% operated interest in three offshore blocks in the northern Walvis Basin. The agreement covers blocks 1910A, 1911 and 1912B, and the balance will be held by National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) with 10% and local partner ZM Fourteen Investment CC with the remaining 10%. Blocks 1910A and 1911 formed part of Tower’s original licence PEL0010, which Tower and its partners Repsol and Arcadia relinquished in 2015.

Namibia
Issue 332 - 18 October 2016

Niger: Savannah to drill in H1 17

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London-based Savannah Petroleum plans to start exploration drilling in H1 2017, following completion of an 800km2 3D seismic survey over part of the R3 area. Announcing its first-half results on 27 September, Savannah said the survey by BGP Niger aimed to provide enhanced definition over 12 existing mapped exploration targets and to identify new targets not mapped on existing 2D seismic. Completion is expected in early 2017. Savannah, which raised $40m in a share placing on London’s AIM market in July 2016 to fund the next phase of seismic and drilling said it was talking to potential farm-in partners, and planned to hold a capital markets event in Niger in November.

Niger
Issue 357 - 09 November 2017

Chad: Delonex plans for Block H

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Delonex Energy has contracted BGP to acquire 400km of 2D seismic and 1,200km2 of 3D over Block H, which it acquired from United Hydrocarbon International, along with DOC and DOD in the Doba Basin and Largeau III. New business adviser Harry Davis told Africa Upstream the acquisition closed on 22 September and the seismic contract was signed on 23 September.

Chad
Issue 184 - 17 April 2010

Tanzania: ExxonMobil moves in

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Norway’s Statoil has signed an agreement with an affiliate of ExxonMobil to transfer 35% of its interest in deep-water Block 2. Statoil now holds a 65% interest in the 11,099km2 block. A phase of 2D seismic acquisition was completed in 2008 and the acquisition of a 3D seismic survey was completed in February. “Statoil is looking forward to working with ExxonMobil in our frontier acreage offshore Tanzania. This is a deep-water environment and both companies have extensive deep-waterexperience,” said Statoil senior vice president exploration Tim Dodson.

Tanzania
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The government has given Houston-based ERHC Energy an exclusive exploration authorisation (EEA) for the three blocks covered by ERHC’s production-sharing contract (PSC), enabling exploration to start.

Chad
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South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company (Ganope) has launched a licensing round offering ten offshore blocks along the western side of the Red Sea. Each of the blocks is around 3,000km2 and has legacy seismic data available. Bids are due by 1 August.

Egypt
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The Orca and Tweneboa results will be highly significant for Ivorian Lebanese architect Pierre Fakhoury, who has just acquired 3D seismic on his highly prospective deepwater Block CI-100, which lies immediately south of CI-401 adjacent to Côte d’Ivoire’s border with Ghana. He will need a farm-in partner to finance a well but is dragging his feet, reluctant to surrender his independence. Fakhoury designed the huge basilica in the political capital of Yamoussoukro for Côte d’Ivoire’s late president Félix Houphouët-Boigny, and was more recently awarded a series of infrastructure contracts for the expansion of Abidjan port and for new government buildings in Yamoussoukro.

Côte d'Ivoire
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Australia’s Otto Energy has farmed out a 25% stake in the onshore Kilosa-Kilombero licence to MV Upstream Tanzania, a joint venture between Greek companies Vegas Oil & Gas and Motor Oil Hellas. MV Upstream will pay Otto $2.3m and cover Otto’s share of costs up to $2m in the Kito-1 well, which is expected to spud in H2 this year. In the event of a discovery, MV Upstream will also carry Otto’s costs for an appraisal well up to $1m.

Tanzania
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Germany’s DEA has sold part of its stake in the West Nile Delta (WND) project to operator BP to better balance its portfolio. The deal includes the sale of part of DEA’s stake in the ongoing Phase 1 development of 5tcf of gas resources. DEA retains 17.25% in the North Alexandria and West Mediterranean Deepwater concessions, making WND still the largest project in its portfolio. The $12bn WND project is due to start production in 2017, producing 1.2bcf/d of gas, which represents some 25% of Egypt’s current gas production.

Egypt