Guinea aims for new oil code, to open offshore blocks

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The west African nation of Guinea plans to have a new oil code in place by the middle of next year and will then invite companies to explore in 22 offshore blocks, the country’s deputy mines and geology minister said.

West Africa is a mature oil province, but the discovery of oil off Ghana, which began pumping crude in 2010, has helped spur interest elsewhere in the region.
“We are developing the new petroleum code now and plan to have it in place by June 2013,” Guillaume Curtis told Reuters on the sidelines of an African oil conference organised by Global Pacific & Partners, Reuters reports.

He said the exploration blocks would then be opened up but that it had not yet been decided whether this would be done through an auction process or through company-by-company negotiations.

Guinea, the world’s top bauxite exporter which also has large-scale iron ore deposits, adopted a new mining code in September last year.

That code gives the state 15 percent of mining projects along with the option to purchase an additional 20 percent, bringing its total potential share in projects to 35 percent. Curtis declined to say whether the new oil code would be modeled along the same lines.