Will he or won’t he? That is the question, as Frank Timis, chairman of African Petroleum Corp., says his company plans to start drilling for oil off the coast of Liberia in March 2011.
APC has completed a seismic survey of its two exploration blocks, but Mr Timis looks like the kind of operative who would rather get other companies to operate and fund the E&P programme of an asset he has acquired.
Timis told the press that APC plans to bring a floating rig to drill two wells in the area, 48km off the coast and that drilling will cost $100 million.
This magazine’s guess is that March 2011 will come and APC still will not drill, unless one enthusiastic E&P company comes around to buy significant equity in those assets and goes ahead to drill. Since that had not happened by January 15, 2011, there’s no likelihood of APC being on the drill site off Liberia until late in the second quarter of 2011.
But announcements about plans to drill, such as the one that Mr Timis made in October 2010, only lead to pressure by the government of the country in which such assets are held. Right now, Mr Timis would be under pressure to proceed with his “drilling plans”. Liberia, for one, desperately wants “action” on exploitation of its resources. The West African nation is rebuilding its economy and infrastructure after a civil war that ended in 2003. Liberia is giving away its petroleum property to any company who can show sufficient enthusiasm to operate the property. That’s why the parliament approved an oil-exploration deal with California-based Chevron Corp. and Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum Ltd(which has never spent money to drill a well anywhere).