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Aminex Extends the Mtwara Licence

Irish minnow Aminex says it has completed discussions with the Tanzanian Petroleum Development Company TPDC “in relation to extending the licence term for the Mtwara Licence of the Ruvuma Production Sharing Agreement”. The PSA was due to expire late December 2016.

“A one-year extension has been approved by the TPDC, which is processing the extension for Ministerial approval and signature”, the company says in a release.

Aminex has also completed discussions with the TPDC with regards to transferring the drilling obligations in the northern Lindi Licence covered by the Ruvuma PSA into the southern Mtwara Licence, which includes the appraisal area for the Ntorya discovery.

With the support of the TPDC, the transfer of the Lindi drilling obligations to the Mtwara licence area is also being processed for Ministerial approval and signing. Thereafter, the company intends to drill the Ntorya-2 well to satisfy the appraisal drilling obligation and then to apply for a 25-year development licence subject to its success.

Aminex adds that its lender has granted an 18-month extension until January 31, 2018 to the repayment date of its corporate loan facility on existing terms. “As recently announced, the power generation system and other auxiliary facilities at Kiliwani North have been completed and commissioning of the gas plant and sub-sea pipeline commenced on April 4, 2016 . Aminex continues to be the sole producer to the TPDC gas processing plant during the commissioning process and is expected to reach production levels of up to 30MMscf/d”.

Equatorial Guinea Places 37 Licences on the Auction Block

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy (MMIE) ( launched the country’s latest oil and gas blocks licensing round, EG Ronda 2016 (, at the Africa Oil & Power conference in Cape Town, South Africa. Companies are now able to submit letters of interest to the Ministry, and to view the official map of available blocks.

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DRC Needs More Transparency to Attract Investors

By Sully Manope

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been long expected to issue tender for new blocks on its western coastal basins. The Licensing, which has been speculated to take place in 2016, is subject to terms that are still being defined. There will be tougher terms, according to Babette van Gessel, president of the International Licencing Association.

Apart from the western coastal basins where the focus of speculation is, there is vast open acreage in the eastern part of the country, Ms. Van Gesel explains in a paper Licencing in Africa; Bid Rounds, Blocks. President Joseph Kabila has approved a new oil code, which has noticeably few changes to the bill that was passed in parliament. Ms. Gessel cautions investors to expect tough terms; saying that the minimum capital gains tax is between 35 and 45%. The state also has an expanded role-it will hold 20% carried interest.

She notes that some of the unanswered questions around accessing permits in the DRC include the implementation of the oil code as well as criteria for exploration permits.“There, certainly, is need for greater transparency”, she declares. The lack of clarity of the processes could deter investment.

In the DRC, there have been long standing issues around the maritime boundary with Angola offshore on the one hand and with Uganda onshore in the Lake Albert. Again, 2016 is election year in the DRC and that in itself certainly puts a brake on things.

Nigerian companies the only proven oil producers in the Ugandan Bid Round

By Toyin Akinosho, Publisher

The three Nigerian independents that emerged on the final list of bidders for Uganda’s six-block licencing round are the only proven oil producers among the seven firms from four countries.

WalterSmith Petroman Oil, Oranto Petroleum International Ltd and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Ltd, have been in the business for a total of 50 years aggregate. They have equity daily oil production ranging from 3,000BOPD to 11,020BOPD.

In contrast, the remaining four, including Armour Energy Limited of Australia, Rift Energy Corporation of Canada, Glint Energy LLC of USA and Swala Energy Ltd of Australia, are rookies in the E&P business. None of these International Oil Firms has a barrel of oil to its name.

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Chevron Shares the Burden in Morocco

The deep water segment of this part of the North Atlantic has been a graveyard of exploration dreams

U.S Major Chevron Corp is sharing the burden of its obligations in Morocco. It has agreed to cede 30% of the gross interest in three deep water offshore leases in the Kingdom.

Qatar Petroleum will acquire the 30% interest in Cap Rhir Deep, Cap Cantin Deep and Cap Walidia Deep, while Chevron will retain a 45% interest and remains the operator. In the deal, which has been approved by the government, Morocco’s Office National Des Hydrocarbures Et Des Mines will continue to have a 25% interest.

Chevron has been closely watching the North and Central Atlantic margin play in the last five years. Apart from the three assets in Morocco, the company holds acreages in Mauritania.

But whereas deep water Mauritania and Senegal, in the Central Atlantic Margin, have experienced significant gas and oil finds respectively, Morocco’s string of dry holes has been second only to Namibia’s, in the south west, in the last three years. Chevron has not drilled a well in Morocco since it

It is clear that, in the partnership with Qatar Petroleum, Chevron is reducing its exposure in the country while Qatar is entering, largely, for diplomatic reasons. “It is no coincidence that Qatar Petroleum’s international presence is now extended to Morocco, a country which Qatar enjoys special relations with,” Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, remarked during the signing.

The three offshore lease areas are located between 100-200 kilometers west and northwest of the Moroccan city of Agadir. They encompass approximately 29,200km2, with average water depths ranging from 100 meters to 4,500 meters.

Bowleven Smells a Rat, Annuls Its Plans for Tanzania

By Sa’ad Bashir, in Dar es Salaam

Bowleven has completed due diligence on the Kilwani North Development Licence and Ruvuma PSA, both onshore Tanzania.

And the company feels it should simply leave these assets alone.The AIM listed minnow has “decided not to pursue its interest in the proposed acquisition”.

The terse statement announcing the cancellation of plans is at odds with the exuberance projected in the November 19, 2015 release about the Heads of Agreement between Bowleven and Aminex, (the holder of the licences).

The deal had an aggregate gross consideration of up to $28Million comprising $8.5Million cash, $10Million carry, $5Million share-based element and $4.5Million in contingent payments.

The plan was for Bowleven to acquire:

  • 25% interest in the soon to be producing Kiliwani North Development Licence (KNDL); and
  • 50% interest in the proven and highly prospective Ruvuma PSA.

The company was hoping it would gain:

  • A low cost entry into a rapidly expanding Tanzanian gas market with substantial existing infrastructure with spare capacity;
  • Near-term high quality production providing cash flow from the essentially complete Kiliwani North development;
  • Access to extensive exploration and appraisal potential on the Ruvuma PSA, with the opportunities for near-term gas-to-power into the local market and longer term gas sales into adjoining major existing trans-Tanzanian pipeline to Dar Es Salaam.

An Appraisal drilling was even planned for Ruvuma PSA early 2016.

Now, everything has been cancelled.

SAPETRO Winds Down in Benin Republic

By Akpelu Paul Kelechi

After relinquishing Block 1, a complete exit from Sèmè is next…

South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO) is in discussions with the authorities in Benin Republic, to either significantly farm down its interest in Sèmè field or exit the asset entirely. The Nigerian independent had two distinct offshore licences in Benin Republic; the Sèmè Field, which it signed on to re-develop and the Block 1, which is largely an exploratory tract. SAPETRO relinquished its 100% interest in Block 1 following the drilling of an unsuccessful exploration well – Perle C.

It committed much more to Sèmè field, a one- time producer which was abandoned in 1997 after having delivered over 21Million barrels of oil. Between 2014 and 2015, SAPETRO drilled three wells in Sèmè field from the same single conductor supported platform, with the jack up rig Noble Craighead. The company’s very optimistic development plan envisaged a total of 9,000Barrels of Liquids perDay (BLPD) expected to be produced at peak, of which 3,000BLPD will be water and 6,000BOPD would be oil.

But there have been significant technical challenges as well as poor geologic realisation of the plan. The last well, for one, went through togh drilling conditions and couldn’t be completed. Total realizable production turned out to be no more than 2,500BOPD, with over 50% water cut. The company has suspended the field development and is currently doing some of the CSR projects it agreed with the authorities, including building a Tank Farm.

Kola Karim Looks to add Equatorial Guinea to the Cart

Nigerian oil and gas player, Kola Karim, is in negotiation, through Shorecan, with the Equatorial Guinea Government, to acquire the operating stake in EG-0 8, located east of Bioko Island, off Equatorial Guinea. The lease lies north of the Alen production area, where Noble Energy, the American independent, operates the 25,000BOPD Alen field.

Shorecan (whose full name is Shoreline Can Overseas Petroleum Development Corporation Limited) is a special purpose vehicle formed by Karim’s Shoreline Energy International and the Canadian minnow Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited.

EG 08 is one of the five blocks currently under negotiations between interested companies and the Equatorial Guinea government, according to Gabrie lM. Obiang Lima, the country’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy. The five blocks are some of the acreages offered in the 2014 bid round, which have not been awarded.

Shoreline Energy International has significant share in Shoreline Natural Resources, which holds 45% in the Oil Mining Lease (OML)  30 onshore Nigeria. Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited has interest in Block LB-13 offshore Liberia. These interests in OML 30 and Block LB -13, are outside of the Shorecan JV.




Mart: Another Suitor Walks Off

Toronto listed Mart Resources failed to convince a second company, in three months, to buy it over.

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EGAS to Auction Deepwater Blocks by 4Q 2016

The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) is preparing for a lease sale in the fourth quarter of 2016. The company only recently awarded four acreages to companies in the 2015 bid round and now it is getting set to launch another auction.

EGAS officials have begun demarcating the acreages that will be in the 2016 round, which will include onshore, shallow water and deep-water (especially in the Mediterranean). Part of the process is to procure approvals from all concerned government authorities.

Egypt currently produces 4.15billion cubic feet of gas per day, compared to 4.5billion cubic feet in 2014.

The 2015 lease sale resulted in four awards (including Sector 4 on North RasAl-Ash Marine for BP and IEOC, Sector 7 on North Hammad Marine for IEOC, BP and TOTAL, Sector 12 on the Northeast Habi Marine for Edison and Sector 14 on the North Tabiya Marine for BP). The sale fetched in total investments of $306MM, in addition to signature grants worth $10.5MM to drill eight wells and acquire three dimensional (3D) seismic data.

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