Chuks Isiwu 08 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The independent indigenous Nigerian upstream oil company, Oranto Petroleum, is investing $500 million in the development an oil block in South Sudan, launching what the company describes as “a comprehensive exploration campaign starting immediately”.
The company, on which business man, Prince Arthur Eze, sits atop as chairman, signed the exploration and production sharing agreement, EPSA, covering Block A3 with South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum on Monday in Juba, the country’s capital city.
The B3 area covers 25,150 square kilometres.
A statement by the company made available to SweetcrudeReports said some aeromagnetic and seismic data have been acquired for the area but no wells have been drilled.
“The block is highly prospective, with productive parts of the Muglad Basin to the northwest and estimated reserves in place of more than 3 billion barrels of oil.
“The block is categorised as low risk, high reward. Under the EPSA, Oranto will be the technical operator and 90% shareholder of the block, with Nilepet holding a 10% stake,” the company said.
South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, said at the agreement signing ceremony: “We believe the petroleum resources of Block B3 are vast. To reach our target of more than double current oil production, we need committed new entrants like Oranto,”
“The government is working hard to reinvigorate the petroleum industry in South Sudan by creating an enabling environment for International oil and gas companies to invest and operate. It is up to the oil companies to come in, explore and produce.”
Founder and chairman of Oranto Petroleum, Prince Eze, while emphasising his company’s commitment to an aggressive exploration work programme that would benefit all stakeholders, said Oranto was in the fore-front of campaign for African firms to develop African assets.
He said: “It’s an honour to formalise our entry into South Sudan with this EPSA.
“Our company is at the vanguard of African firms exploring and developing African assets. This is the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Nilepet, the people of South Sudan and our partners to bring to light the immense potential of Block B3.
“Oranto is committed to an aggressive exploration work program that will benefit all stakeholders.”
The 120,000-square kilometre Block B was split by the government into B1, B2 and B3 blocks in 2012.
In Block B3, Oranto will work alongside the B1 and B2 partners, which include Total.
During the first three-year exploration period, Oranto will complete a further airborne geophysical survey; acquire and process 2D seismic; and assess existing data held by the government and former operators.
The EPSA contract was facilitated by pan-African law firm, Centurion Law Group.
South Sudan is an established, world-class petroleum producing region, whose territory includes a large part of the Cretaceous rift basin system that has proved petroliferous in Chad and Niger as well as Sudan.
Oranto Petroleum and Atlas Petroleum International, the sister companies of the Atlas Oranto Group, own and operate 20 oil and gas acreages in 10 African countries: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal and South Sudan.
It was founded in Nigeria in 1991, prides itself as Africa’s largest indigenous explorer by acreage.