Sao Tome and Nigeria launch new round of oil licensing in 2008

12 July 2006

London, England, 12 July – Sao Tome and Nigeria plan to launch the next round of oil exploration licenses in 2008 for the countries’ joint development area, officials said.

Carlos Gomes, the president of the Nigeria-Sao Tome Authority for Joint Development, cited by international news agencies, said that over the next year new seismic surveys would be carried out to determine the most attractive areas for international oil companies.

“More seismic data will allow us to evaluate the area before planning the next round,” said Gomes on the sidelines of an oil conference in London.

In May, Chevron announced an oil strike, at a depth of 1,720 meters in Bloc 1 of the joint development area, the first in the archipelago.

Exploration of blocs 2, 3 and 4 will begin in the third quarter of next year, Gomes said.

ChevronTexaco has a 51 percent stake in the blocs in partnership with Exxon Mobil, with 40 percent, and Dangote Energy Resource, a Nigerian-Norwegian consortium, with 9 percent.

Bloc 1 cost ChevronTexaco and its partners US$123 million in signing bonuses.

According to Gomes, the fund obtained for the four blocs totaled US$270 millions.

The joint exploration treaty signed between Sao Tome and Principe and Nigeria in February 2001, states that Nigeria receives 60 percent of revenues while 40 percent goes to Sao Tome.

The US Energy Department estimates that oil reserves in the area total 14 billion barrels. (macauhub)