US company ERHC Energy to prospect for oil in Sao Tome and Principe

3 July 2014

ERHC Energy plans to invest around US$100 million in prospecting for oil in block 11 of the Sao Tome and Principe exclusive zone, the president of the US oil company said in Sao Tome Wednesday.

Peter Ntephe spoke after signing a production-sharing contract with the Sao Tome and Principe National Oil Agency, at a ceremony attended by Sao Tome’s Oil Minister, Fernando Maquengo.

The president of ERHC Energy announced that the company was exempt from pay a signing bonus as it was exercising an option included in an agreement signed with the Sao Tome State in May 1997.

The contract has a lifetime of 28 years, the first eight of which will focus on seismic surveys and collecting other data, and Ntephe noted that most of the investment would be made during the period of drilling that precedes and determines the production phase.

ERHC Energy’s option follows support it gave to the Sao Tome State, mainly in the first seismic studies that began in 1997 with the involvement of Chevron and ExxonMobil, as well as legal and staff training assistance it provided.

This contract for block 11 follows those of British company Equator Exploration in block 5, Chinese-Angolan company Sinoangol in block 2, and Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum in block 3.

Sao Tome and Principe has another 15 blocks that have yet to be awarded.

As well as its exclusive zone Sao Tome also has a joint development zone with Nigeria, which is split 60/40 in terms of revenues in favour of the Nigerians based on a political treaty signed in February 2011. (macauhub/ST)