New exploration licence off Nigeria

August 29, 2005, 01:10 CEST

An exploration licence for Nigerian deepwater block 315 has been awarded to Statoil and Brazilian oil company Petrobras after a bidding round which concluded on 26 August.

The two partners have each received 45 per cent in the acreage, with Petrobras as operator. Nigerian company Ask was given the remaining 10 per cent holding.

Block 315 lies in more than 1,500 metres of water off the northern Niger delta. Several discoveries totalling more than 500 million barrels of oil equivalent have been made in the area.

“We’re very pleased with this award, which was our first priority,” says Brian Mitchener, vice president for global exploration in Africa in Statoil’s International Exploration & Production business area.

“Blocks in this area are viewed as some of the few remaining attractive exploration opportunities off Nigeria. This award strengthens our involvement in west Africa, which is an important asset in our international portfolio.”

A 10 per cent interest has been given to local companies in each block awarded, in line with a Nigerian government policy to train up such firms for future operator assignments.

Bids were assessed on four parameters – signature bonus, the share of production available to cover costs, the share of local deliveries and a minimum drilling and seismic survey programme.

Statoil and Petrobras offered a signature bonus of USD 180 million for block 315. This will be paid by all three partners in proportion to their holding.

In addition, the partners are committed to drilling four exploration wells.