- The British oil company Premier Oil today announced it had "farmed out" a larger part of its interests in several offshore block in Guinea-Bissau to the oil company Occidental Petroleum. Together, the two were also granted new exploration licences.
Premier Oil today said it was "pleased to announce" that it has reached agreement with Occidental Petroleum Corporation to "farm out 40 percent of its 100 percent paying interest in Blocks 2, 4A and 5A (the Sinapa and Esperanca blocks) offshore Guinea-Bissau." Premier however was to retain operatorship of the blocks.
A drilling rig had now been contracted by the two companies to begin drilling the Sinapa-2 well in the first quarter of 2004 to test a 250 million barrel oil prospect, one of a number of similar prospects on the blocks.
Premier and Occidental had also jointly been granted two new licences covering blocks 7B and 7C, also offshore Guinea-Bissau, subject to Bissauan government's final approval, the London-based company said.
According to the statement released today, Premier Oil, as operator, has a 25 percent paying share while Occidental has a 75 percent share in the two new blocks. "The partners plan to commence operations by acquiring a 2D seismic survey in 2004," the Premier statement said.
Charles Jamieson, Chief Executive of Premier, commented that "We are very pleased to have as technically a strong partner as Occidental and at the same time to have taken more acreage in Guinea-Bissau. We are looking forward to drilling this highly prospective area early in 2004."
Oil exploration activities are currently increasing in the troubled country, ridden of poverty and political instability. Although there has been active exploration offshore Guinea-Bissau since the late 1960's, no commercial oil fields have so far been found.
Of all localities on the Western African coast - where oil now is found in one country after the other - the geological formations off Guinea-Bissau have been denominated the most promising. Guinea-Bissau's offshore areas are considered under-explored as exploration efforts repeatedly have been interrupted by political crises.
According to the South African economic consultants MBendi, "there have been intermittent drives to promote the offshore and a number of international companies have been involved in offshore exploration during the last 40 years." Amongst them number Esso, Elf, Fusion Oil and Gas and Premier Oil. Occidental Petroleum is the last company to enter the race.
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