- The so-called Block "O" offshore Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea, is now to be explored. Equatoguinean authorities have signed off a contract with the Texas-based company Noble Energy to explore the block, which is adjacent to the oil producing Alba field.
Noble Energy is one of the largest operators in Equatorial Guinea, working closely together with GEPetrol, the state oil company established in 2001 and controlled by dictator Teodoro Obiang and his family. The new production sharing contract, signed today between Noble and the government of Equatorial Guinea, again underlines this cooperation.
According to a press release y Noble Energy, the Texas company will be the technical operator of Block "O" with a 45 percent working interest. Noble's partners on Block "O" include GEPetrol - with a 30 percent working interest and who will be the Administrative Operator - and Glencore Exploration with a 25 percent working interest.
Block "O" lies off the island of Bioko and is adjacent to the Alba field, which contains estimated gross resources of approximately one billion barrels of oil equivalent. Noble also holds a 33.75 percent working interest in the Alba field.
The block covers 1,772 square kilometres, and is located in water depths that range from the Bioko Island shoreline to over 500 meters, at the border of Cameroon's sector. To date, only two 3-D seismic surveys have been shot on the block. According to Noble, the company and its partners had already "agreed to drill two exploration wells within the first exploration period of three years, with planning underway for the first well to spud in 2005."
Noble Energy President Charles Davidson in a press release confirmed that Block 'O' was "a very exciting opportunity and a good strategic fit for our company. We have a long history in Equatorial Guinea and an outstanding working relationship with the government and GEPetrol."
- Block 'O' is a high potential block with solid exploration fundamentals, Mr Davidson added. "Several leads have been identified that contain many of the attributes we believe are associated with sizeable hydrocarbon accumulations elsewhere. This block has the potential to contribute significantly to our current, rapidly growing international programme."
Also Noble's partners on Block 'O' today celebrated the new concession. Switzerland-based Glencore Exploration also earlier has acquired several licenses in exploration blocks offshore in Equatorial Guinea's Rio Muni basin. The Swiss mining and energy company is one of the few European players in Equatorial Guinea's controversial oil industry.
Block 'O' is one of the few promising unexplored fields offshore Equatorial Guinea. The government opened it for explorations last year and GEPetrol formed a joint-venture with Glencore for exploration of Block 'O'. Noble Energy was since invited to play the leading role on the large field.
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