Ophir Waits on Malabo For Fortuna Block Extension

Ophir Energy is hoping that the Equatorial Guinea authorities would grant its request to extend the Block R licence, despite the government’s earlier pronouncement that it could replace the company with other investors.

Block R, offshore Rio Muni Basin, hosts the Fortuna Field, which Ophir has hoped to monetise by installing a Floating LNG.

The company “announces that it is still awaiting a response from the Equatorial Guinea Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (‘MMH’) with regards to its request for an extension of the Block R licence”, the London listed explorer says in a statement.

For more than three years, Ophir has struggled, fruitlessly, to raise the money for installing the Floater, despite announcing that most of the 2.2Million Tons Per Annum of LNG had found an offtaker.

After the mighty Schlumberger pulled out of the OneLNG joint venture with Golar LNG Partners for the project, Gabriel Lima Obiang, the Equatoguinean Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH), noted that the government could bring in some other investors to the project to replace Ophir. He referenced the expiration of the Block licence at the end of 2018.

Ophir’s most recent statement, released December 31, 2018, however says: “We continue to engage with the MMH as well as potential investors in the Fortuna Development.  We expect to receive further communication from the MMH in January concerning either the lapse of the licence or the terms of any extension and will update shareholders as soon as the situation is clarified.

“The Board remains focused on implementing the strategy outlined in its announcement on 13 September and is proactively evaluating the options available to the Company to maximise value for shareholders for the rest of the portfolio”.



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