Canada’s Artumas sells stakes in Rovuma oil exploration in Mozambique

23 July 2009

Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, 23 July – Canadian oil company Artumas said Wednesday it planned to sell its stakes in the oil exploration in Mozambique’s Rovuma basin and assets in neighbouring Tanzania to Cove Energy and Maurel & Prom.

The contract signed Tuesday, gives the two oil companies an option to buy Rovuma assets, which must be exercised by 18 August, for a cost of around US$12 million, and the process is expected to be concluded in the third quarter of the year.

“This agreement makes it possible for Artumas to carry out the necessary and substantial assessment of its concession in Tanzania and continue to take part in the next phase of the exploration programme in Mozambique, which is highly auspicious,” said the company’s chairman, Cameron Barton, in a statement.

Of the 49.3 percent of the on-shore block at Rovuma, with an area of 15,000 square kilometres in Cabo Delgado province, 34 percent will be sold off.

In the offshore case, operated by Anadarko, Artumas will sell its 8.5 percent stake.

For the option the two companies paid US$1.02 million, and by 18 August will have to pay the remaining US$10.98 million.

The agreement also includes majority stakes in Mnazi Bay, Tanzania, the two companies said in a regulatory statement.

The latest information published by the company based on seismic surveys points to “multiple” points of “high potential” both on land and in the sea, which will be drilled as of the fourth quarter of this year.

In January Artumas transferred its onshore operator status to its partner Anadarko, which was already the offshore block operator, and closed its offices in Mozambique.

Artumas planned to invest some US$170 million (132 million euros at current exchange rate) in oil exploration in Mozambique and gas in Tanzania.

A 2007 field study in the Rovuma basin showed the area had oil potential in quantities that could be commercially viable.

The survey, ordered by Artumas and carried out by US company Rose & Associates, concluded that in four test drills in the field crude oil could be extracted in “commercial and non-commercial quantities,”(without specifying the quantities of each).

In July 2005, the Mozambican government launched a tender for exploration of several offshore blocks in the area known as the Rovuma basin, part of the river dividing Mozambique from Tanzania.

Canada’s Artumas, US company Anadarko Petroleum, Malaysia’s Petronas and Italy’s ENI are some of the companies working in the basin. (macauhub)