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Issue 295 - 27 February 2015

Seplat drops Afren bid plan


Seplat has abandoned plans to make a bid for Afren after the beleaguered company turned down its request for a further extension to the deadline to make a formal offer. “The board has not received any proposal from Seplat that it believes is capable of being implemented on terms satisfactory to all relevant stakeholders in the company, including the indicated value being significantly below the aggregate value of the debt of the company,” Afren said in a 13 February statement.


The government has promised to pay $1.5bn of the $6bn it says it owes oil firms in an effort to revive investor confidence and boost investment in the energy sector. “There is approval to pay $1.5bn,” interim prime minister Hazem El-Beblawi told a business conference in Cairo on 4 December aimed at attracting investment from Gulf states. While oil companies remain undeterred by Egypt’s political upheavals, stressing that both onshore and offshore operations are unaffected, they are suffering a growing financial burden from unpaid arrears owed to them by Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries.

Issue 270 - 04 February 2014

Angola: New pre-salt find for Cobalt


Cobalt International Energy has announced a first discovery in the syn-rift interval in the Bicuar #1A pre-salt deep-water exploratory well on Block 21. The well was drilled to a depth of 5,739 metres and encountered 56 metres of oil and condensate pay from multiple pre-salt intervals. This is the fourth deep-water pre-salt discovery offshore Angola by Sonangol and Cobalt, and the first discovery in the deeper pre-salt syn-rift reservoir. “The syn-rift discovery in Bicuar validates the presence of a viable seal and trap with quality reservoir rocks in the deeper reservoir section,” said Cobalt chief exploration officer James Farnsworth.


Sonangol’s new board has said that a thorough investigation of the parastatal’s financial and management problems has revealed that the situation is worse than expected. With $1.6bn of debt payments due by year-end, the company has been in talks with international banks to secure financing. The company’s total debt is estimated at $9.85bn.A 1 December statement by the new board said Sonangol had failed to adjust its strategy to cope with the sharp reduction in revenue caused by the oil price crash.


Statoil’s Cachalote-1 exploration well in offshore Area 2 has failed to hit oil and instead encountered non-commercial gas. The well was the first deep-water exploration well to be drilled on the block and discovered a gas-bearing reservoir in an Upper Cretaceous deep-water channel system. Partner Tullow Oil said the well found 38 metres of good quality gas-bearing reservoir sandstones in an Upper Cretaceous objective on the outboard flank of the regionally important Ibo High. Tullow said the gas was unlikely to be commercial on a standalone basis.

Issue 218 - 22 October 2011

Bowleven bullish on Sapele


Edinburgh-based Bowleven has announced oil and gas condensate discoveries with the Sapele-3 well, boosting hopes that the discovery may prove commercial.


South Africa is close to first gas from the Project Ikhwezi development on Block 9, which aims to add more gas to extend the life of the Mossel Bay gas-to-liquids refinery. State oil company PetroSA is developing the F-O field, 40km south-east of the F-A production platform off the south coast. PetroSA acting vice-president new ventures upstream Andrew Dippenaar told Global Pacific & Partners’ Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town on 7 November the project involved drilling five long-reach horizontal wells into a high-temperature, high-pressure reservoir. “Once we have those fields on production, there is some potential opportunity for discovered fields” to the east, he said

South Africa
Issue 172 - 17 October 2009

Old guard quits Hyperdynamics board


China has turned its attention to Guinea as offshore licence holder Hyperdynamics brings in a new team. Former chairman and chief executive Kent Watts and current executive vice president Harry Briers have quit the Hyperdynamics board, though Briers will remain on the management team.

Issue 227 - 15 March 2012

Total signs PSAs for offshore acreage


Total has signed production-sharing agreements with Petroci for three new ultra-deep offshore licences

Côte d'Ivoire
Issue 317 - 11 February 2016

Kenya: Block L6 funding dispute


Australia’s Pancontinental Oil & Gas is disputing cash calls made by FAR subsidiary Flow Energy for Block L6. FAR issued a notice of default to Pancontinental in September 2015. Pancontinental said that, since about mid-2014, work had only been planned for the onshore portion of the block, where it said it had a 16% paying interest, based on Dubai-based Milio International, which farmed in in 2014, having a 60% paying interest. It said civil upheaval and security incidents had prevented petroleum operations from taking place, but Flow had issued cash calls for $377,801 in 2015, mainly for staff and consultants, and had assessed Pancontinental’s paying interest as 40%, not 16%.

Issue 307 - 11 September 2015

Tanzania: Pipeline startup


Mnazi Bay partners Wentworth Resources and Maurel & Prom began delivering gas on 20 August to fill the new Mtwara to Dar es Salaam pipeline. Production rates are expected to reach 70mcf/d by October and 80mcf/d by year-end. Once the 517km pipeline is filled, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) is expected to start gas deliveries to power and industrial companies in October. The pipeline has been built by China Petroleum Technology and Development Corporation, with WorleyParsons acting as project manager.


South Sudan’s oil revenue has continued to fall in H2 2017 as diversions of crude to pay off arrears to Sudan have increased. The government of South Sudan (GoSS) netted just 15,000 b/d of oil production in H2, down from 22,000 b/d in H1. Overall output was modest but steady, at an average 118,000 b/d in H2, the same as for H1. But almost a third of this output is being diverted to Sudan.The drop in GoSS crude share is down to further increases in cargoes diverted to its northern neighbour.


The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with successful bidders from its 2019 licensing round during the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi.

Equatorial Guinea

Isarene drilling to start in May; Russian field development to proceed; Minister says Tullow will get Lake Albert stakes; Chevron awards FEED, New find on Abu Qir for Edison; Burullus Gas extends rig contract; Essar gets back OPL 226

Egypt | DR Congo | Angola | Nigeria | Congo Brazzaville | Algeria
Issue 335 - 24 November 2016

Mauritania/Senegal: More drilling in 2017


Kosmos Energy plans a new drilling campaign next year exploring basin floor fans in deeper water outboard from its previous exploration in the hope of finding oil. “We are currently acquiring seismic data in southern Mauritania and northern Mauritania, and this seismic data has imaged giant to supergiant leads and prospects in a basin floor setting. We plan on drilling out a three-well programme at a minimum, starting in 2017, that will test a gross unrisked mean resource of 29bn boe,” Kosmos vice-president exploration Tracey Henderson told Global Pacific & Partners’ Africa Upstream conference on 1 November.

Mauritania | Senegal