African Petroleum shaky, but confident, about oil offshore West Africa

Company said its acreage off the coast of four West African countries could hold 7.4 billion barrels of oil.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Oct. 16, 2017 at 6:16 AM
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Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Some of the more promising oil basins off the coast of West Africa are close to the point of pay off despite recent setbacks, African Petroleum said Monday.

African Petroleum has assets in Gambia, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. Of those, Senegal holds the most oil in its territorial waters, but much of the region is unexplored and the full potential has yet to be realized.

Hailed as one of the largest discoveries when declared in 2014, the companies tied to Senegal say the SNE offshore field, combined with other exploration developments, may hold more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil. Australian energy company FAR Ltd. and British company Cairn Energy, the operator, declared a new discovery offshore Senegal in August, just to the north of SNE.

African Petroleum said it was applying to start a new survey and drilling campaign at other areas offshore Senegal, but added the uncertainty on the trajectory made it difficult to find operating partners.

Two Gambian blocks combine for an estimated 1 billion barrels of unrisked barrels of oil and are in close proximity to the SNE oil field offshore Senegal. African Petroleum said it was in a legal dispute over its licenses offshore Gambia.

The company two years ago brought in its counterparts at Ophir Energy to its license area in the Ivory Coast, which eventually led to a multi-million dollar commitment to support a production sharing contract in the region. Now, the company said it was withdrawing from some of its interests in Ivory Coast and focusing on assets that may be more attractive to potential partners.

"Our assets in Sierra Leone are increasingly exciting as a result of a significant resource potential and advancements in ultra-deep-water drilling technology," CEO Jens Pace said in a statement. "We are close to obtaining agreement on progressing into the next phases for our two licenses in country."

African Petroleum said its acreage offshore West Africa could hold as much as 7.4 billion barrels of oil. Performance during the first half of the year, however, showed an $11.5 million loss, against a 3.6 million profit during the same time last year.

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