A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Nigeria’s SAPETRO acquires oil block in Madagascar

1 November 2011, Sweetcrude,Antananarivo – A Nigerian independent oil and gas exploration and producing company, South Atlantic Petroleum Limited (SAPETRO) has announced agreement with Houston-based Marex MC Inc to purchase a 90 per cent interest in the Maritime Belo Profond block, situated offshore Madagascar in the Mozambique Channel.

The company said at the weekend that the block covered an area of 13,770 square kilometres and contained a significant portion of a new deep water exploration province adjacent to Eni and Anadarko’s recent major discoveries in East Africa.

SAPETRO said in a statement that the purchase was subject to the approval of the Madagascar government, adding that “information from modern seismic data indicate the block contains substantial thicknesses of favorably structured Tertiary and Mesozoic sedimentary packages throughout the acreage and remote sensing studies have indicated areas of hydrocarbon seepage”.

The block lies adjacent to the Juan de Nova Maritime Profond exclusive exploration permit in which the Nigerian company had acquired a 75per cent interest from Australia-based Roc Oil in July this year.

SAPETRO was awarded deep offshore Nigerian block Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 246 in 1998 and in conjunction with its partners – Total of France and Petrobras of Brazil, discovered the giant Akpo field in year 2000.

Part of the block was converted to Oil Mining Lease (OML) 130. Subsequent field discoveries include Egina, Egina South and Preowei. The Akpo field started producing in 2009 and production has risen to over 180,000 barrels of condensate.

The partners, led by Total, are in the process of developing the other fields. In 2006, SAPETRO divested part of its interest to CNOOC of China and through its Benin subsidiary is also 100per cent owner and operator of block 1 offshore Republic of Benin, which it was awarded in 2004.

The company has acquire 3D seismic on the block, drilled two successful appraisal wells and is currently planning a re-development of the Sèmè field, on which it plans to take Final Investment Decision in 2012. We understand that they are also evaluating exploration prospects within the block for future drilling.

SAPETRO’s Chief Executive Officer, Martin Trachsel, commented: “Entry into Belo Profond is a further addition to SAPETRO’s exploration portfolio in Africa and reflects our commitment to establishing a presence in the continent through focused exploration activities”.

He said they had been studying the geology and geophysics within the vicinity following their recent acquisition in Juan de Nova and could confirm the existence of equally interesting plays, which provide excellent opportunities for exploration.

According to the statement, SAPETRO intended to aggressively explore Belo Profond with new broadband seismic and geochemical acquisition programs beginning later this year.

From Nigeria to Benin, and then Mozambique Channel (France) and Madagascar, SAPETRO is viewed as one of the foremost Nigerian grown independents.

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