Equatorial Guinea has announced that it will launch a new bidding round for all remaining deep and ultra-deepwater blocks in 2016
The announcement was made by the country’s Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy, following the success of its 2012 and 2014 bidding rounds. Two operators have already confirmed that they will further explore prospects in Equatorial Guinea in 2016. US-based RoyalGate Energy will drill Block Z and Brazil’s G3 Oleo e Gas will drill Block EG-01.
“In a sustained environment of low oil prices, Equatorial Guinea continues to be attractive for deepwater exploration,” said Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, minister of mines, industry and energy. “The start of two more exploration drilling campaigns in 2016 reinforces the fact that our contract terms are competitive and appealing to international explorers.”
The minister also stated that the production sharing contract for the Zafiro field, operated by ExxonMobil, will not be extended. ExxonMobil has been active in Equatorial Guinea since 1995 as operator of offshore Block B, which contains the producing Zafiro field. ExxonMobil holds a participating interest of 71.25 per cent, GEPetrol has 23.75 per cent and the Equatorial Guinea government holds the remaining 5 per cent.
The ministry will also not approve the sale of Hess Corporation’s producing offshore assets in Equatorial Guinea to foreign bidders. The US-based company operates the Ceiba and Okume fields, which began production in 2000 and 2006, respectively. Further, it is not willing to approve Noble Energy’s Carla and Diega developments in Blocks O and I due to project delays. The Carla discovery was made in 2011 and Diega was discovered in 2010.