- A new natural gas and condensate discovery has been announced in Equatorial Guinea's offshore Alba Block. The announcement was made by the company operating the block, Marathon Oil, a Texan company accused of large-scale corruption in Equatorial Guinea.
Marathon Oil yesterday made the announcement of a new significant natural gas and condensate discovery on the Alba Block offshore Equatorial Guinea. The discovery well, termed Gardenia, is located approximately 18 kilometres south-west of the oil producing Alba Field in 98 metres of water.
The well was drilled to a total measured depth of 4625 feet and encountered 45 feet of net gas/condensate pay, according to Marathon Oil. "The Gardenia discovery continues Marathon's evaluation of the additional resource potential in the Alba field area," explained Philip Behrman of the Texan company.
The new discovery could soon be exploited commercially due to the existing infrastructure on the Alba Field. "A potential development scenario includes production through the Alba field infrastructure and the future liquefied natural gas facility on Bioko Island," according to Mr Behrman.
Marathon Oil holds a 63 percent interest in Sub Area B, where the new natural gas discovery was made this week. The company also serves as operator of the block. A subsidiary of Noble Energy owns 34 percent interest in the block and Compañia Nacional de Petroleos de Guinea Ecuatorial (GEPetrol), the national oil company of Equatorial Guinea, holds the remaining 3 percent interest.
The future operations of Marathon Oil in Equatorial Guinea - where the company make most of its revenues - is however uncertain. It depends heavily on the goodwill of the unpopular regime of Equatoguinean Dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema, but also on the investigations of the US Senate into large-scale corruption deals involving the company's engagement in the country.
Marathon Oil - due to the large bribery payments it according to US authorities has made to President Obiang - is of three oil companies blacklisted by ethical investment consultants. The other two, ExxonMobil and Amerada Hess, are also blacklisted for their involvement in the Equatoguinean corruption scandal.
The major corruption case in Equatorial Guinea is now being investigated by the US government. The US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has already criticised the three companies for having "systematically paid hundreds of million dollars over a period of several years to the President and dictator of Equatorial Guinea, his relatives and government officials, in order to get a share of the country's oil wealth."
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