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FAR Takes All in The Gambia, Looks for Well Heeled Partners

In spite of two disappointing dry holes in the space of three years, Australian minnow FAR has taken 100% ownership in two Blocks in The Gambia.

FAR Ltd has  acquired an additional 50% interest in Block A5, where it sank money in Samo-1 and Bambo-1 and Block A2, both offshore the Northwest African country.

The interest was acquired from Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), the Malaysian state hydrocarbon company which had co-financed the two wells.

But while FAR takes up all the stakes, it “has initiated a process to find partners to fund the forward exploration programme” and convinced its host Government to remove the Commitment to drill an exploration well during the next two-year contract term

FAR keeps seeing its disappointing drill programme in the Gambia in bright terms: “new laboratory analysis has positive implications for the Panthera Prospect directly up-dip of Bambo-1”, the company explains.

FAR shook up its executive management in March 2022, ousting its CEO Catherine Norman and replacing her with Independent Chairman Patrick O’Connor to oversee the business during a period of transition and “bringing in fresh perspective”.  The next two-year license term for Blocks A2 and A5 is due to commence on 1 October 2022 and “the removal of the commitment to drill an exploration well results in a significant reduction in expenditure and allows for a detailed geoscience review incorporating the results of the recent Samo-1 and Bambo-1 wells to ensure future exploration wells are located optimally”.

Data room Opened

FAR says it has opened a data room “for suitably qualified parties to consider participation in a Joint Venture to undertake the geoscience review and ultimately to drill additional exploration wells. FAR expects new partners to fund the costs of the work programme”, adding that “subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including Government approval, incoming participants in the Joint Venture may assume Operatorship.

“The 100% interest in Blocks A2 and A5 and the revised investment obligation enhances FAR’s ability to seek farm-in partners to the project while controlling any potential corporate action and process”.


Nigeria’s $410Billion Energy Transition Plan Will “Manage” the Expected Job Loss in Hydrocarbon Sector

A key deliverable of Nigeria’s close to half a trillion-dollar energy transition plan, is “managing the expected long term job loss in the oil sector due to global decarbonization”.

The country has been run as a hydrocarbon economy for most of its 62 years of independence.

Through the plan, launched on August 24, 2022, the government hopes to achieve a carbon neutral economy (so-called ‘net zero’) by 2060, that is 38 years from now and a hundred years after independence.

In the course of that journey is a target for universal energy access by 2030, that is eight years’ time., the Vice President said the plan was designed to tackle energy poverty and climate change crisis, as well as deliver sustainable development goal seven (SDG7), which is: “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030.

It’s a tall order. The government’s own Rural Electrification Agency (REA) estimates that nearly 50 percent of Nigerians (or about 105Million people) do not have access to grid electricity, while millions of those connected to the grid have less than 12 hours of electricity every day.

The plan envisions vibrant industries powered by low carbon technologies, streets lined with electric vehicles, and livelihoods enabled by sufficient and clean energy. And it presents a unique opportunity to deliver a true low carbon and rapid development model in Africa’s largest economy, the government said.

There’s a nod to natural gas: as Nigeria takes ownership of “the transition pathways” out of the fossil fuel era (dominated by diesel, charcoal, diesel, kerosene, firewood), “and designs climate-sensitive strategies that address peculiar growth objectives”, said Yemi Osinbajo, the country’s Vice President and the designated overseer of the road map. “the plan recognises the role of natural gas in the short term to facilitate the establishment of this low energy capacity and address the nation’s clean cooking deficit in the form of LPG”.

Osinbajo said the transition plan requires a significant scale of resources which includes $410Billion above business as usual spending to deliver a transition plan by 2060 which translates to about $10 Billion per year. At the launch, the World Bank and the US Export-Import Bank (EximBank) pledged a sum of $3Billion to boost the implementation of the plan.

The plan envisages a lifting of 100Million people out of poverty, reducing Nigeria’s carbon footprint, drive economic growth and create jobs.  “The plan has the potential to create about 340,000 jobs by 2030 and 840,000 jobs by 2060”.



Libya’s New Top Oilman Meets ENI’s Chief in Rome

Farhat Omar Bengdara, the newly appointed chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation has met Claudio Descalzi, chief executive of Italian giant ENI, in Rome.

Bengadara led a delegation of NOC’s senior executives to Claudio Descalzi’s office, to discuss ENI’s activity in the country and strategic projects.

The Italian firm, semi owned by the state, is the largest private sector hydrocarbon producer in North Africa.

Bengdara, who served as Libya’s Central Bank Governor from 2007 to 2011, took over from the charismatic Mustafa Sanalla, who has led NOC since May 2014 until his ouster in July 2022.

“Claudio Descalzi confirmed to the NOC Chairman Eni’s full commitment towards operational activities in the country and expressed the willingness to launch a new phase of investments aimed at increasing Libya’s gas output”,ENI said in a press statement, “leveraging on the significant exploration potential as well as on the existing facilities which grant access to the domestic and the European export markets”.  The statement said the two leaders discussed on implementation of renewables projects in the country, while ENI’s CEO “welcomed the NOC plan to increase the daily output of the Country up to 2Million barrels of oil per day and reaffirmed Eni’s support to reach this target for the mutual benefit of the parties”.


‘African Officials Who Accepted Glencore’s Bribes Will Likely Walk Free’

There’s a growing call for prosecution of African officials who were part of ‘the elaborate corruption networks’ for which Glencore, the Swiss mining and commodities conglomerate, was fined by the United States Justice Department.

Five African countries were named as having been captured in the web of sleaze spun by Glencore on two continents between 2007 and 2018.

A drawn-out investigation involving law enforcement officials in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States, led to two Glencore subsidiaries pleading guilty May 24, 2022 to “multiple charges of market manipulation and bribery, including corruption related to the company’s oil operations in Africa and South America”. Glencore’s penalties to the U.S. “for violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and manipulating commodity prices” is approximately $1.2Billion.

In the time frame covered by the investigation, Glencore’s corrupt actions included more than $100Million in bribes to officials in Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Venezuela, the report says.

“African officials who accepted bribes should be held accountable”, declares the African Energy Chamber (AEC), an influential energy advocacy group. “Glencore’s dealings in African countries should be closely examined on a local level. Investigations should be opened, and Glencore should be forced to come clean about the full extent of its corrupt business dealings”, the AEC argues.

In South Africa, Brian Molefe, former chief executive of Eskom, the electricity utility, has chosen to name names. He accuses the Zondo Commission, a panel of inquiry set up by the government to investigative state capture, of being “very sympathetic” towards Glencore over its relationship with President Cyril Ramaphosa. Although South Africa was not named in the investigation, President Ramaphosa was Glencore’s local empowerment partner at the time it acquired Optimum Coal Holdings in 2012, but divested his interests in Glencore in 2014.

In a report published as far back as July 2021, the Premium Times detailed court proceedings focused on how Anthony Stimler, former United Kingdom-based trader for Glencore Plc, bribed officials in Nigeria in exchange for favourable contracts from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. In effect Premium Times narrowed the Nigerian culprits in Glencore’s corrupt practices to officials working for the state hydrocarbon firm.

However, Musikilu Mojeed, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, regrets that “no particular official was named or properly identified in court papers, so it is difficult identifying the officials involved”.

Nigerian authorities never responded to Premium Times report and they have been silent about the widely circulated 2022 account.

Mum too are the authorities in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan, which are the other African countries whose officials are implicated in the investigation.

African officials who accepted Glencore’s bribes will likely walk away free.

This piece was initially published in the May 2022 edition of Africa Oil+Gas Report

Eco to Spud Gazania-1, off South Africa, in September

Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas confirms that the Island Innovator rig, owned by Island Drilling Company AS, has been mobilised and will move on to the Gazania-1 well on Block 2B, 25km offshore the Northern Cape in Orange Basin South Africa.

The rig is expected to arrive and spud by the end of September 2022, subject to weather conditions.

The Gazania-1 prospect is targeting a 300Million barrels light oil resource.

The well will take approximately 25 days to drill, and the JV partners plan to seal and plug the well after the test, with no equipment being left on the sea floor. The partners have also approved the option to drill a sidetrack well contingent on a discovery in the main target.

The JV partnership in respect of Block 2B comprises Eco Atlantic (50% WI and Operator), Africa Energy Corp (27.5% WI), Panoro 2B Limited, a subsidiary of Panoro Energy ASA (12.5% WI), and Crown Energy AB (10% WI).


BW MaBoMo Starts Move to Gabon for 2023 First Oil

BW Energy has announced the sail away of the BW MaBoMo (formerly Hibiscus Alphaoffshore production facility.

The production facility is currently onboard a heavy-lift vessel in transit to the Dussafu license offshore Gabon where it will be installed to produce oil from the Hibiscus and Ruche fields.

The BW MaBoMo is expected to arrive on the field at the end of September 2022 for installation and hook-up with first oil planned late in the first quarter of 2023. The Hibiscus / Ruche development is expected to add up to 30,000 barrels per day of gross production once all the initial six horizontal production wells are on stream.

The platform left the Lamprell yard in Dubai on August 8, 2022, following completion of the yard scope with some minor outstanding upgrades, which were executed offshore in preparation for the sail away.  The BW MaBoMo is a former jack-up drilling rig which has been repurposed as an offshore production facility with 12 well slots. It will be connected to the BW Adolo FPSO via a 20 km pipeline.

“By repurposing existing oil and gas production assets we extend their economic lifespan, shorten the time to first oil while also significantly reducing the field development investments and CO2 footprint. We are very pleased to have completed the conversion project with excellent HSE results and only minor adjustments to schedule and budget in a highly challenging environment due to COVID-19, supply chain disturbances, geopolitical tension and commodity inflation,” said Carl K. Arnet, the CEO of BW Energy.


Fadahunsi Is the New Business Opportunity Manager for Shell Nigeria’s BSWA Development

Shell has appointed Olaposi Fadahunisi as the Business Opportunity Manager for Bonga South West Aparo, the company’s-and Nigeria’s-next large sized oilfield development.

The new role moves Fadahunsi from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) which operates the company’s onshore assets, back to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company, the company’s subsidiary focused on frontier (mostly deepwater) assets, where he has been for most of his 24 years with the company.

A trained Engineer who started his oil industry career as a Drilling Rig Tour Pusher with the Italian contractor Saipem, Mr. Fadahunsi has worked in engineering and project management roles with Shell since 1998, until his last two roles, which were business development related.

For 10 years from September 2008 to July 2018, Posi, as he is fondly called by industry colleagues, was Shell Nigeria’s Deepwater Business Opportunity and Non Operated Ventures Manager, a role he played in SNEPCO. From July 2018 to May 2022, he was Domestic Gas Business Opportunity Manager, a job domiciled in SPDC.

Prior to that he was Subsea Systems Engineer/Project Leader Apr 1998 – Feb 2003); Venture Engineering Team Leader for the Bonga Integrated Project (Jan 2003 – May 2005) and Project Manager for the Bonga NW Deepwater Project(Jun 2005 – Sep 2006), all in Houston, Texas, United States.


Norwegian Operator Grabs a Stake in Cote d’Ivoire’s top Hydrocarbon Asset

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, has entered into a transaction agreement in which RAK Petroleum plc will transfer its ownership of Mondoil Enterprises LLC to DNO. The all-share transaction comprises Mondoil Enterprises’ 33.33% indirect interest in privately-held Foxtrot International LDC whose principal assets are operated stakes in offshore production of gas and associated liquids in Côte d’Ivoire, forming a bridgehead for DNO in West Africa.

“The move into Côte d’Ivoire is an important first step into a highly prospective region offering a broad set of growth opportunities through acquisition of producing fields, development assets and exploration licenses,” said Bjørn Dale, DNO’s Managing Director. The Company is already evaluating other opportunities in the region, he added.

Foxtrot International holds a 27.27% interest in and operatorship of Block CI-27 offshore Côte d’Ivoire containing the country’s largest reserves of gas, produced together with condensate and oil, from four offshore fields tied back to two fixed platforms, meeting more than three-quarters of the country’s gas needs. Foxtrot International also operates an exploration license offshore Côte d’Ivoire, Block CI-12, in which it holds a 24% interest.

In addition to the Foxtrot gas field, which began production in 1999, Block CI-27 contains the Mahi gas field, developed in 2012, as well as the Marlin oil and gas field and the Manta gas field which began production in 2016, following a four-year, $1Billion development campaign by the joint venture. Gas produced from these fields is transported by pipeline to fuel power stations in Abidjan pursuant to a gas sale and purchase (take-or-pay) agreement put into force in June 1999 and subsequently increased to 140 million cubic feet per day with a base price of $ 6.00 per MMBtu, subject to an indexation formula which has lifted the current price to $ 6.47 per MMBtu.

This asset is big deal: In early 2020, the Block CI-27 joint venture embarked on a two-year, $350Million field development and onshore facilities construction project to supply gas to two new power stations

In early 2020, in connection with the signature of amendments and extension of the production sharing contract and the gas sales agreement to 2034, the Block CI-27 joint venture embarked on a two-year, $350Million field development and onshore facilities construction project to supply gas to two new power stations. Cash flow from operations have funded these capital investments. This work is nearing completion following the drilling of three new and two side-track wells; the last well in the programme, a side-track, is currently progressing.

This additional processing and well capacity are slated to increase gas supply to over 230 million cubic feet per day, subject to electricity sector demand and well performance. Drilling of up to another two wells over the period of the extension is planned to maintain the higher production capacity of the license. During the first half of 2022, gross sales averaged 200Million cubic feet of gas and 1,500 barrels of oil and condensate per day. Oil and condensate (and limited quantities of gas) are sold to the local refinery at arms-length prices.

The effective date of the transaction is 1 January 2022 and the agreed consideration is $ 117.25Million, covering transfer of 100% of Mondoil Enterprises share capital valued at $ 95Million, comprising 9.09% indirect working interest in Block CI-27 and 8% in Block CI-12 both held through the ownership in Foxtrot International, and $ 22.25Million including $ 21Million in cash and $ 1.25Million in working capital.

Completion of the transaction is conditional upon shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting of DNO resolving to issue the consideration shares. The formal notice of the extraordinary general meeting of DNO to be held on 13 September 2022 is attached and provides further information on the proceedings as well as a description of the terms and conditions of the transaction agreement. RAK Petroleum, too, will hold an extraordinary general meeting to seek shareholder approval of the capital repayment plan.

DNO says it has conducted a due diligence of the assets to be acquired supported by third-party assessment of reserves and resources. The transaction has been negotiated by the independent members of DNO’s Board of Directors who, in addition to the attractive business merits also considered the advantage of increasing the Company’s free float to attract institutional investors and of augmenting DNO’s gas exposure to reduce its carbon footprint. Pareto Securities AS has been retained as financial advisor to DNO and has provided the independent directors with a fairness opinion.



Mozambique Commences Deepwater Gas Production in September 2022

Mozambique will start monetizing the natural gas accumulations in the deepwater Rovuma basin, in the Indian Ocean, from September 2022.

That is the date the first cargo of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) will be exported from the 3.4Million Tonne Per Annum (3.4MMTPA) Floating LNG on the Coral South field in the basin’s Area 4 concession.

The gas is contracted to bp for 20 years with an option for a 10-year extension; it could help in Europe’s gas supply crisis.

September 2022 will be roughly 12 years and seven months since Anadarko-the now defunct American independent- discovered the giant accumulations of natural gas in Area 1 in deepwater Rovuma basin. It will be about 11 years after ENI discovered similar resources in Area 4, adjacent to Area 1.

For the otherwise aggressive operator ENI, Coral South FLNG is one of its longest discovery- to- market hydrocarbon projects, at least in Africa.

Thus, for the otherwise aggressive operator ENI, Coral South FLNG is one of its longest discovery- to- market hydrocarbon projects, at least in Africa.

ENI, in 2015, discovered the giant Zohr in deepwater Mediterranean, offshore Egypt. By 2017, the field was in production, supplying mostly Egyptian power plants.

Area 4 is operated by Mozambique Rovuma Venture (MRV), a joint venture led by ENI and consisting of ExxonMobil and CNPC (China), which holds a 70% participating interest in the concession contract. Galp, KOGAS (South Korea) and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (Mozambique) each hold 10% stakes.

The Coral South FLNG platform has storage tanks on the hull and 13 modules on top, including a liquefaction plant, an eight-story module that can accommodate 350 people and a helicopter runway.



Chevron, Namibia’s First Hydrocarbon Finder, Plots a Return

By Toyin Akinosho, Publisher

The news is still in the realm of speculations, but if Chevron takes an operatorship stake in an ultra-deepwater block north of Shell and TOTALEnergies’ recent discoveries, offshore Namibia, it will be returning to a country it left over 40 years ago.

Chevron made the first discovery in Namibia with Kudu 9A, in 1974, two years after the country’s first licencing round. The geologic complexity of the Kudu field, as well as the United Nation’s sanctions against the ruling South African apartheid govenment, pushed the American giant away.

Fortuitously, for all those four decades, explorers never encountered any significant hydrocarbon prospect in the south west African country, until the last two years, when a raft of discoveries suddenly started to happen.

If Chevron takes equity in either Block 2813A (Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 83, or/and Block 2813B., it would be following the footsteps of Shell, the UK major, as a returnee.

Shell took over operatorship of the storied Kudu field long after Chevron and left the asset and country in 2002, after its plans for a Floating LNG collapsed on account of inadequate reserves volume.

Shell’s return as an explorer in Namibia’s offshore, in 2014, was tied to its geoscience thinking about the prospectivity of South Africa’s deepwater Orange Basin, which straddles Namibia. Shell’s three South African acreages (at the time) were sited just south of its Namibian acreages.

It is instructive that Blocks 2813A and 2813B, which Chevron is reportedly interested in, lie west of the Kudu field, which BWEnergy is now operating.




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