By Toyin Akinosho
Africa Oil Corp, which marketed Kenya’s opportunities to the world and brought in Tullow Oil, has elected to withdraw from the country’s only upstream development project.
The Canadian junior says it has submitted withdrawal notices to its joint venture partners on Blocks 10BB, 13T and 10BA in Kenya, to unconditionally and irrevocably, withdraw from the entirety of the joint operating agreements (JOAs) and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) for these concessions. The Company has concurrently submitted notices to Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, requesting the government’s consent to transfer all of its rights and obligations under the PSCs to its remaining joint venture partner.
Africa Oil Corp has determined that “the carrying value of the Kenya intangible exploration assets was written down to $58.6Million at December 31, 2022, and the Company intends to further impair this value to zero”.
“Our strategy has shifted to focus on production and high potential exploration opportunities”, declares Keith Hill, the company’s President and CEO. Those opportunities include “our Orange Basin portfolio where we are now appraising the exciting Venus discovery, offshore Namibia”.
The production opportunity refers to the company’s stake in Prime Energy, which receives dividends from proceeds in Agbami, Akpo and Egina fields in Nigeria.
Africa Oil Corp. came into the consciousness of the global oil and gas community in the late 2000s, when it was vigorously marketing the Kenyan and Ethiopian opportunities, distributing printed regional maps and seismic sections from tiny booths at conferences focused on African oil and gas. These were the years immediately after the commercial discovery of oil in Uganda.
One company which took more than a cursory glance at those maps was Tullow Oil, which went ahead to farm in to acreages held by Africa Oil, took charge as operator and proceeded on a seismic and drilling campaign. In March 2012, Tullow announced a commercial discovery at Ngamia -1, in Block 10BB, placing Kenya on the hydrocarbon map of the planet. The South Lokichar basin development grew on the back of the Ngamia-1 discovery and the string of finds that came after it.
The latest field development plan calls for seven fields to contribute to a 130,000Barrels of Oil Per Day central processing facility from which the crude is evacuated into a 20 inch, 823 kilometre long, heated pipeline, which ferries the commodity to the country’s port town of Mombassa on the edge of the Indian Ocean.
AOC says, in its release, that it is proud to have played a central role in discovering the oil fields in Kenya’s South Lokichar Basin.
“We continue to believe these discoveries will form the basis of a significant oil producing province in the coming years with strategic value for the country. We have also had the privilege of working with our host communities on our social-focused programs and we are grateful to them for welcoming us to their midst. We thank the government of Kenya, our host communities and our joint venture partners for their support over the years and we wish them the best in taking the project forward to the next stage.”