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Issue 342 - 16 March 2017

South Sudan: Block B’s history


Block B has failed to produce a single barrel of marketable crude in its almost 40-year history. In 1980, Total signed an exploration and production-sharing agreement (EPSA) with Sudan to operate the block for a 40-year period. But development was arrested by a combination of war, sanctions and the secession of South Sudan in July 2011.Work was suspended in 1985 due to security concerns arising from the second Sudanese civil war, which raged until 2005.

South Sudan

FMC contract for Block 18 work; Dana Gas makes new gas/condensate find; Three new finds for Apache; New find on NW Gemsa

Egypt | Angola

All sides are talking about building confidence, but with IOCs fearful that the landmark Petroleum Industry Bill will slash their profits, and Nigerian politicians keen to influence policy across the sector, the timetable for vital energy industry reforms is slipping ever further behind.


Operator ExxonMobil and its partner Sterling Energy have opted to relinquish the Ampasindava Block following a detailed subsurface reassessment of the prospectivity. Sterling said the production-sharing contract was in phase three of the exploration period, which was due to expire in July 2016. ExxonMobil had been planning a deep-water well on the Sifaka prospect, but drilling was repeatedly postponed amid the island’s political crisis. A 1,314km 2D seismic acquisition programme on Ampasindava was completed in December 2013.

Issue 183 - 26 March 2010

Tullow to reduce Kudu stake


Tullow Oil is set to reduce its stake in the Kudu gas field to 31% from 70% as the government brings in Russia’s Gazprom as a new partner, according to Namibian officials.


Tullow Oil’s Kenya Block 10BB well results have potentially huge implications for exploration in adjacent blocks 10BA, 12A, 13T, and also across the border in Ethiopia’s South Omo Block

Kenya | Uganda | Ethiopia

Russia’s Soyuzneftegaz Capital Limited has increased its stake in London-based Sterling Energy to 11.14%. Sterling has not commented on the holding, but executive chairman Alastair Beardsall and several of his team previously ran Emerald Energy, in which Soyuzneftegaz invested and which was sold to Sinochem in 2009. Headed by former Russian energy minister Yuri Shafranik, Soyuzneftegaz describes its strategy as identifying “promising projects at an early stage of their development.


The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons announced on 4 December that ExxonMobil has submitted a Notice of Discovery for the Avestruz-1 (Ostrich) well on Block EG-06 and is evaluating its commercial potential and possible development options. ExxonMobil signed a contract in 2015 for the block, which lies southwest of Block B, which contains the Zafiro field, and north of Ophir Energy’s Block R, where the Fortuna gas field is under development.

Equatorial Guinea
Issue 320 - 24 March 2016

DRC pulls out of JDZ deal


Democratic Republic of Congo’s new hydrocarbons minister has rejected an agreement on the offshore Joint Development Zone (JDZ) with Angola and demanded compensation after an Angolan presidential decree in December transferred two fields out of the joint zone into Chevron’s Block 14. On 16 February, André Ngoi Mukena Lusa Diese sent a letter to his Angolan counterpart, José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, rejecting the two countries’ 30 July 2007 agreement for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the JDZ, a 10km-wide corridor across Angolan offshore blocks 1, 14, 15 and 31 (AE 264/17).

DR Congo | Angola

Plans by Kosmos Energy and partner Cairn Energy to drill a well next year in a Moroccan-licensed block in the Western Sahara continue to provoke intense interest among oil companies excited by the disputed territory’s offshore potential, as well as political debate among the traditional protagonists. The territory is Moroccan-controlled, but officially under United Nations mandate, and debate centres on a legal opinion issued by UN general counsel Hans Corell in 2002, which stated that exploration and extraction of mineral resources in Western Sahara would be illegal “only if conducted in disregard of the needs and interests of the people of that territory”. This has allowed Morocco’s Office Cherifien des Phosphates to maintain output from its Phosboucraa subsidiary, which is a major employer in the region. However, the Corell judgment – which one official told African Energy, “we’ve all been re-reading recently” – has been generally interpreted as excluding new E&P work.

Issue 284 - 12 September 2014

Egypt: IPR farms into South Disouq


Canada’s Sea Dragon Energy has farmed down a 45% stake in the gas-prospective South Disouq concession in the Nile Delta to US privately owned explorer IPR Energy Resources. Sea Dragon said that Dallas-based IPR had agreed to carry the cost of the first-phase commitment well subject to a cap as well as fund a share of the remaining work programme and pay $1.9m of signature bonus. In return, IPR will gain a 45% non-operatorship interest in the 1,275km2 permit, awarded to Sea Dragon Energy in April 2013 following a bid round organised by Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company.

Issue 176 - 11 December 2009

Berkine: the ‘new Hassi Messaoud’


It has been a year of crucial developments in the Berkine Basin, where Gazprom entered as an upstream player in the first Alnaft round, at El Assel (blocks 236b and 404a1, operated by Sonatrach) and Eni came in with the purchase of First Calgary Petroleum’s Menzel Ledjmet holding.


Despite his incapacities, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, with his Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, has spent recent weeks giving the impression of action at the top. New senior management is bedding in at national oil company Sonatrach, and military promotions on independence day, 5 July, signalled business as usual, even if there is still no movement on the retirement of key players such as military intelligence chief General Mohamed ‘Tewfik’ Mediene and chief of staff and deputy defence minister Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah.

Issue 246 - 17 January 2013

Ophir farms in to Offshore Accra


Ophir Energy has entered Ghana with an agreement to farm in to the Offshore Accra contract area, taking over as operator from Australia’s Tap Oil. A 3D seismic survey was acquired over the deep-water portion of the block in 2011, and Ophir will drill the Starfish-1 well planned for later this year.

Issue 201 - 21 January 2011

Algeria: Petroceltic progress at AT-4


Ireland’s Petroceltic International has announced that well AT-4 on its Isarene permit in the Illizi Basin confirmed the presence of a gas column