Statoil receives second exploration block in Egypt

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Dec. 28 -- Statoil ASA has conditionally secured its second deepwater exploration acreage west of Egypt's Nile Delta following the country's recent international licensing round.

Statoil has operatorship and an 80% working interest in Mediterranean Block 10 and will partner with Sonatrach International Petroleum Exploration & Production, which has the remaining 20% working interest.

For the offer to become final, Statoil must conclude its production-sharing agreement with the Egyptian government and secure final approval from Egypt's parliament.

Egypt 3 weeks ago granted Statoil operatorship of the 8,368-acre block and an 80% working interest in Block 9 in the same waters, which covers an area of 9,802 sq km. The blocks are in 1,000-3,000 m of water.

Geir Richardsen, Statoil's exploration manager for Egypt and Libya, said: "We'll enjoy major synergies in these two holdings. In practice, they will form a single exploration area." He said the deepwater areas offer major exploration challenges, "but we're convinced that our experience from deepwater regions worldwide equips us well to conduct a successful exploration program."

Egypt allocates blocks through bidding rounds, with awards determined on the basis of both technical and commercial parameters.

Egypt currently produces about 1.5 million boe/d, of which 60% is gas. Substantial discoveries in recent years have made Egypt a gas exporter.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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