Equatorial Guinea seeks more oil, gas exploration


Equatorial Guinea wants a more aggressive oil and gas exploration programme as it seeks investment in its hydrocarbon economy and expects to sign at least 10 new production sharing contracts (PSC) by June 2012, a minister said.

Last year the sub-Saharan nation, one of Africa’s largest oil producers, signed several oil concession deals, including two with Russia’s Gazprom Neft .

Gabriel Obiang Lima, the country’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, said a bid round for new blocks would likely be held in January as the country invited companies to submit letters of intent to acquire acreage, Reuters reports.
“This is a new policy of the government of Equatorial Guinea, to have a more aggressive exploration (programme) and invite companies to come into the country,” Obiang Lima told an Africa oil and gas conference.
“Our aim is by the second quarter of next year to have a minimum of 10 PSC coming up in the country, signed in the country,” he said.

During this year, the country approved London-based energy venture firm White Rose, likely to drill its first well next year in Block H, and Glencore as the operator of Block V, among others.
“We also signed a new PSC with Marathon Oil in Block D and at this current moment we are still under negotiation with Marathon for other blocks in the same area,” he said.

Obiang Lima said the Aseng oil field, which will cost $1.3 billion to develop fully, is unlikely to come onstream as planned in the first quarter of 2012.
“Aseng will produce crude and will have the capacity of 120,000 barrels of liquid per day and of this 80,000 barrels will be crude oil,” he said of the field estimated to have 120 million barrels of recoverable liquid.

Obiang said the $1.6 billion Alen gas and condensate field, being developed by Noble Energy was on track to come onstream in the first quarter of 2013, producing about 40,000 barrels of condensate a day.

The country’s first 20,000 bpd oil refinery at Mbini, situated at the country’s Atlantic coast and expected to be constructed at a cost less than 300 million euros ($410.3 million), would likely be constructed by an Asian firm, Obiang Lima added without providing details.