Commercial importance of existing hydrocarbons in Sao Tome and Principe to be known in due time

16 August 2010

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 16 Aug – The director of Sao Tome and Principe’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) has stated that it is too early to ascertain the commercial importance of the hydrocarbons found in the island country’s Exclusive Economic Zone and in the Zone of Joint Exploitation with Nigeria.

Luis Prazeres told Portuguese news agency Lusa that in the case of the Joint Zone with Nigeria the operating oil companies must submit by the end of this month the “most recent report” on the commercial value of existing hydrocarbons.

At stake is the economic potential of the four existing blocs in the Joint Zone, operated respectively by the French-American Total/Texaco consortium (bloc 1), China’s Sinopec (bloc 2) and the Swiss-Canadian Addax consortium, subsidiary of Sinopec (blocs 3 and 4).

These companies began the prospecting phase in 2006 and the most recent drilling was carried out last December.

The most recent change in this area concerns the entrance of the French company Total in the consortium exploiting bloc 1, replacing the American company Chevron, in a commercial operation done three weeks ago which Prazeres called “one of the best things that could have happened”.

The ANP’s executive director justified the positive effect of Total’s entrance as opposed to Chevron’s “dragging out” the research process, as well as the fact that the French company is also operating bloc 130, which lies 30 km away in the Nigerian economic zone and is considered “one of the best oil fields in the Gulf of Guinea”.

Regarding Sao Tome’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Prazers said that the parties interested in competing for exploitation of the seven blocs put up for international auction last 2 March would only be known after 15 September.

After receiving the bids, the ANP has 60 days to analyse them and submit its report to the government, which will in turn take several weeks to make a decision. The companies will then be contacted and informed about the level of participation in each bloc. (macauhub)