UK firm expands Equatorial Guinea acreage

1 November 2011, Sweetcrude, Malabo – London-listed independent, Ophir Energy, has secured an expansion to its existing acreage in Equatorial Guinea.

The development is expected to boost its gas reserves for a planned second LNG train on Bioko Island.

The Africa-focused company has expanded its Block R production sharing contract area by 773 square kilometres to increase its total block acreage by 46% to 2447 square kilometres under an amendment agreed with the Ministry of Mines, Industry & Energy.

Chief executive Nick Cooper said the block expansion “has significantly increased the chances of the next drilling campaign meeting or exceeding the minimum volumes required to underpin a commercial LNG project supplied from Block R”.

The additional acreage includes unlicensed blocks C-9, D-8, D-9 and D-10, which were previously relinquished from Block C, operated by Repsol.

The expanded area encompasses the earlier Estrella de Mar-1 and Oreja Marina-1 gas discoveries, drilled by ExxonMobil, which hold estimated combined resources of 250 billion cubic feet and are on trend with Ophir’s Lykos-1 find in Block R.

Ophir now plans to procure a rig as soon as possible for a three to four-well drilling campaign planned in the first half of 2012 targeting 15 prospects identified by 3D seismic in the PSC extension area, where total reserves are estimated at about 3 trillion cubic feet.

High on the list of new targets is the drill-ready Tonei prospect, which is believed to have a mid-case resource estimate of 450 Bcf, while Ophir will also drill the Volturnas prospect as well as an exploration/appraisal probe on Fortuna West.

Ophir says a minimum resource volume of 2.5 Tcf is required for commercial gas production from Block R to support the planned expansion of the Bioko Island liquefied natural gas project with a second train.

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