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France’s Total has taken over African Petroleum Corporation’s Rufisque Offshore Profond Block and will also explore the ultra-deep. Total said on 2 May it had signed an exploration and production-sharing contract for the 10,357km2 block, which it will operate with a 90% interest, alongside Société Nationale des Pétroles du Sénégal (Petrosen), which holds 10%. Total also signed a cooperation agreement with Petrosen and the Ministry of Energy and Renewable Energy Development to carry out studies to assess the exploration potential of Senegal’s ultra-deep offshore and become operator of an exploration block.


Sierra Leone has provisionally awarded eight blocks to a mixed bag of bidders following a licensing round which opened in December. A statement from State House on 9 July said the nine blocks on offer had attracted 59 applications.

Sierra Leone
Issue 302 - 12 June 2015

Kenya: Premier quits Block 2B


Premier Oil has pulled out of onshore Block 2B, where exploration is the subject of legal action. The block is operated by Taipan Resources subsidiary Lion Petroleum, and drilling has been held up by local protests. Partner Tower Resources said the working interests of Lion and Tower would be adjusted on a pro-rata basis (Lion 66.66%, Tower 33.34%) for the remaining six months of the current licence phase. The Ministry of Energy has agreed a six-month extension to the first additional exploration period to 30 November 2015.

Issue 271 - 17 February 2014

Cameroon: Murphy spuds Bamboo well


Murphy Oil has begun drilling the Bamboo-1 well on the Ntem concession following the lifting of force majeure provisions (AE 270/18). Partner Sterling Energy said the well was being drilled by the Ocean Confidence semi-submersible drilling rig at a site 56km from the coast. The well is being drilled in water depths of 1,600 metres to a target depth of 4,200 metres sub-sea, testing an Upper Cretaceous basin floor fan target. The Ntem area was placed under force majeure in June 2005 as a result of overlapping maritime border claims by Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.


In-fighting within the political class rarely surfaces in public, but it remains a significant factor in Egyptian decision-making.


Noble Energy spudded the I-7 exploration well on the Carla South exploration prospect in Block I in late March, using the Atwood Hunter semi-submersible drilling rig. Partner PA Resources said the Carla South prospect was on trend with the Carla North discovery recently appraised in Block O to the north of Block I. The target is Tertiary sandstones of similar age to those in Carla North, and the well is expected to take around 25 days to reach total depth, with plans for a subsequent sidetrack of similar duration.

Equatorial Guinea
Issue 148 - 18 October 2008

Chinese JV signs for exploration


Eritrea, a country with more than eight decades of exploration history but not much recent success, has assigned two offshore blocks to an Eritrean/Chinese joint venture called Defba Oil Share Company. According to a release from the Eritrean Information Ministry, Defba has been set up

Issue 213 - 16 July 2011



Guinea player Hyperdynamics has transferred its share listing to the main New York Stock Exchange from the NYSE Amex.


Seismic acquisition company Polarcus has signed a letter of intent with Perenco Oil & Gas Gabon SA for a 3D marine seismic acquisition project. The survey, to be acquired by the Polarcus Nadia vessel and subject to the execution of a service contract, will start in Q1 2015 and is expected to take approximately 21 days.


London-based Aminex expects to spud the Ntorya-2 appraisal well in mid-December using the Caroil 2 drilling rig. Initial results are expected early next year. The well location is a 1,500-metre step-out from the 2012 Ntorya-1 discovery which flow-tested gas at 20mcf/d, with 139 b/d of associated condensate, from a 3.5-metre sand interval. Ntorya-2 is expected to test the up-dip part of the same channel complex as the Ntorya-1 discovery well but in a thicker gross reservoir section.


Libya’s armed conflict has been focused since April on the southern regions of Tripoli, an area quite far from oil fields and facilities, and this has allowed operations to carry on without interruption. In recent weeks, the only two major oil sites to have been damaged were a warehouse owned by Mellitah Oil & Gas, which was destroyed in an aerial bombardment, and some fuel storage tanks owned by Brega Oil Marketing Company, which were destroyed by shelling during fighting for control of Tripoli International Airport.


Tullow Oil’s farmdown to Total and CNOOC of around 20% of its Ugandan licences terminated on 29 August, following the expiry of the sale and purchase agreements (SPAs). Tullow said it had been unable to secure a further extension. With a final investment decision (FID) on the development now pushed further back, Total has suspended development of the export pipeline to Tanzania’s Tanga port.

Issue 193 - 11 September 2010

New twists in Tullow Lake Albert saga


Tullow Oil’s Lake Albert ambitions have been dealt another blow with the Ugandan government talking tough in a tax dispute with the company. Oil minister Hillary Onek has said that the government has repossessed the Kingfisher field following expiry of the exploration licence, in an apparent bid to put pressure on Tullow to resolve its dispute over the tax payable on its buyout of Heritage Oil Corporation’s holdings.


The Lagos-based Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has announced a $28m subordinated loan facility for the development of the Helm oil project on Tunisian exploration and production company Topic SA’s Halk El Menzel offshore block. The subordinated loan note has a 30-month tenor and will ensure the long-mooted project reaches first oil production by January 2018.The Helm project is a low-cost development of a marginal field covering an offshore area of 570km2 in the Gulf of Hammamet in northern Tunisia.

Issue 264 - 25 October 2013

Sierra Leone: Oil shows for Lukoil


Russia’s Lukoil Overseas has found an “oil-saturated reservoir” with its first exploration well offshore Sierra Leone. The well on the Savannah structure on SL-5-11 was drilled to more than 4,700 metres in water depths of more than 2,000 metres using the semisubmersible Ocean Rig Eirik Raude (AE 262/14). Lukoil said oil-saturated reservoirs were identified and oil samples were taken from the Turonian sands.

Sierra Leone