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Chevron Global Energy has sold its 25% non-operated interest in the Doba Basin to the government for $1.3bn. The sale closed on 13 June. The transaction includes the sale of Chevron’s interests in seven fields in the Doba Basin, which in 2013 had average crude oil production of 18,000 b/d net to Chevron. The sale also includes a 21% non-operated interest in the export pipeline system that transports crude to Cameroon’s Kribi port, and associated marine facilities.

Chad
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London-based Soco International has agreed not to drill in the Virunga National Park without the approval of the government and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), which oversees the park’s World Heritage status. Soco said on 11 June it would complete its current seismic acquisition campaign within 30 days. “The company commits not to undertake or commission any exploratory or other drilling within Virunga National Park unless Unesco and the DRC government agree that such activities are not incompatible with its World Heritage status,” it said in a statement.

DR Congo
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The focus of upstream activity in the Mediterranean has shifted from the established hydrocarbons-rich zones of North Africa to the coast of the Levant and now increasingly to parts of the Adriatic, impelled both by violence and instability in Libya and also the opening up of opportunities in these new areas. Driven by the pressures of economic austerity in the aftermath of the Euro crisis, Greece and Italy have turned back to oil and gas licensing. Greece recently launched an ‘open door’ licensing programme, and Italy has also licensed new areas after many years during which progress was effectively frozen.

Egypt | Libya | Algeria | Morocco | Tunisia
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Eve Howell’s Tangiers Petroleum has agreed a takeover of Jacka Resources, giving it new assets in Tunisia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Somaliland and Australia. Tangiers is offering 0.468 Tangiers shares for every Jacka share held, in an off-market deal valuing Jacka at $37m. The combined company will have interests in two high impact wells planned for 2014: the TAO- 1 exploration well in the Tarfaya block in Morocco, operated by Galp Energia, and the Hammamet West-3 sidetrack on the Bargou permit in Tunisia.

Nigeria | Tanzania | Tunisia
Issue 268 - 20 December 2013

Ethiopia: Dry well for Tullow

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Tullow Oil has announced a second unsuccessful well in the South Omo Block. The Tultule-1 wildcat was drilled to a total depth of 2,101 metres and will be plugged and abandoned as a dry hole. The well was targeting a reservoir section similar to the sands drilled in the nearby Sabisa-1 well, where oil shows were encountered but these sands were not penetrated in Tultule-1. Tullow said gas shows were recorded, “which reaffirm the presence of a hydrocarbon source in the region”, and the results of both wells would now be analysed to determine the future exploration campaign for the area.

Ethiopia
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The government has announced that 31 marginal fields will be offered to indigenous companies in the country’s first licensing round since 2007. The bid round is going ahead even though the much delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which would result in a significant shake up of the fiscal regime, is seemingly no closer to passage. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has said that only companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership are eligible to participate. Although the DPR is yet to announce which marginal blocks are being offered, it said that 16 are located onshore in the Niger Delta while the remaining 15 are on the offshore continental shelf.

Nigeria
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Cairn Energy is preparing to spud a well on the Juby Maritime III Block following a dry well on the adjacent Foum Draa Block. The well will drill down some 1,000 metres below the 1969 Cap Juby heavy oil discovery in the Upper Jurassic to target a Middle Jurassic carbonate prospect. Cairn said operations would begin once the FD-1 exploration well had been plugged and abandoned. The Cajun Express semisubmersible drillship spudded the FD-1 well in late October in 1,500 metres of water, targeting a Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous deep-water turbidite slope fan and channel complex.

Morocco
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Operator Repsol has made an oil discovery on Block NC115 in the Murzuq Basin, 800km south of Tripoli. Partner OMV said the well was drilled to a total depth of 1,836 metres and flowed 39° API oil at a rate of 513 b/d. Repsol, OMV and Total will continue with further drilling in the area. The drilling campaign started in May 2013 and is expected to last until end-2015.

Libya
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ExxonMobil is resuming exploration on its three offshore licences following the approval of extensions to its production sharing contracts. The company said on 6 November that it had received decrees formalising the extensions that were signed on 17 July by President Andry Rajoelina, and its subsidiaries intended “to resume exploration work and environmental assessments for shore-based and offshore operations in preparation for deep-water drilling”. Partner Sterling Energy said on 14 November that a 1,363km 2D seismic programme was under way on the Ampasindava block. “The programme is designed to provide improved control over the large Sifaka prospect as well as to mature additio

Madagascar
Issue 266 - 26 November 2013

IFC backing

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Warburg Pincus-backed Delonex Energy has won $60m in equity finance from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation to fund its planned oil and gas exploration in east and central Africa. Delonex, run by former Cairn India chief executive Rahul Dhir, has yet to announce any asset acquisitions, but the IFC’s contribution will form a key part of a $600m equity line to be provided by the company’s investors led by Warburg Pincus. IFC’s investment will be used to fund start-up costs, exploration, appraisal, acquisition and early development of oil and gas assets.

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State energy giant Sonatrach has decided to exercise its right to pre-empt operator Petroceltic International’s proposed sale of an 18.375% interest in the Isarene production-sharing contract, which contains the Aïn Tsila gas field. In a 7 October statement, Petroceltic said “the commercial terms and proceeds of pre-emption are similar to those agreed between the company and a potential third party purchaser”. Although Sonatrach has been ordered to take a bigger stake in the sector in recent years, it remains rare for it to seek pre-emption rights, suggesting to analysts that the deal was priced very competitively and the asset contains considerable upside.

Algeria
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Algerian state energy company Sonatrach has announced the start of production from the Gassi Touil gas reserve in the south-eastern Illizi province. The field has been developed by Sonatrach and services companies, after a much-vaunted integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) contract awarded in 2004 to Spanish firms Repsol and Gas Natural was terminated in 2007. Reports earlier this year suggested that Sonatrach planned to inaugurate the Gassi Touil integrated LNG project in July, allowing exports from the new 3.6bcm/yr Arzew (GL3Z) liquefaction train to start in late September (AE 255/20).

Algeria
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Democratic Republic of Congo’s latest national conference has heard a call for a new push to settle the maritime border with Angola and enable the country to take a potential share of the region’s offshore oil. The ‘concertations nationales’ held from 7 September to 5 October in Kinshasa, gathered MPs, senators and civil society organisations to discuss the country’s political and economic future. Kinshasa University geologist Professor Ezequiel Kasongo Numbi Kashemukunda, a former MP of President Joseph Kabila’s Alliance de la Majorité Présidentielle and former diplomat, called on the government to stop wasting time and energy in trying to secure the recognition of its claims over the continental shelf beyond the 200-mile limit.

DR Congo | Angola
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Tanzania is offering new deep-water acreage in its fourth licensing round set to launch on 25 October. The bid round is going ahead, although a new gas policy is not yet in place – previously a precondition for the auction to take place. Interested parties will be invited to bid for eight blocks, seven offshore and one in the north of Lake Tanganyika, by 15 May 2014 (AE 255/12). The prospect has triggered some excitement in industry circles, not least because the auction has been much delayed, but also because the offshore blocks lie adjacent to big gas discoveries made by BG Group and Statoil, which plan a liquefaction facility to market the gas.

Tanzania
Issue 265 - 08 November 2013

Sterling picks up the pace

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As it changes its focus to new ventures, the UK’s Sterling Energy has farmed down 50% of its Ambilobe Block in Madagascar and taken a 10% stake in the Odewayne Block in Somaliland. Sterling will take 10% in Odewayne from Petrosoma for an initial $2m, and will be carried by operator Genel Energy for the cost of at least 1,500km of 2D seismic and an exploration well. Petrosoma is an affiliate of Jersey-registered Prime Resources, run by Somaliland-born lawyer and businessman Mohammed Yusef Ali Gurey.