PetroSeychelles looks toward 2013 open bid round

The Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean offshore East Africa have undertaken an exercise to modernize petroleum legislation and revise the fiscal regime and is preparing for an open acreage bid round in 2013.

With numerous discoveries offshore East Africa in recent months, the international oil and gas industry has shown renewed interest in Seychelles, said Eddy Belle, chief executive officer of PetroSeychelles Ltd.

Afren PLC is shooting a large 3D seismic program in the islands, and WHL Energy Ltd., Perth, plans to participate in the 2013 bid round, Belle said. WHL Energy has completed a major, state of the art, integrated interpretation of the petroleum potential of the Seychelles, the first in the history of this frontier exploration province.

Meanwhile, PetroSeychelles and the Seychelles government have ratified the previously reported amendments to the petroleum agreement with WHL Energy.

The new work program calls mainly for the drilling of a single exploratory well, shooting 2D seismic, and completing seismic interpretation to mature the location for drilling in late 2013. The previous agreement provided for two wells by July 31, 2013, but the work program has been extended until Jan. 31, 2014.

The new plan is to shoot a further 2,000 km of 2D seismic, reprocess 2,000 km of existing 2D seismic, and undertake geophysical and environmental studies.

WHL will retain a 17,345 sq km contiguous shelf acreage position and relinquish the noncore Farquahar, Platte, Coetivy, and Fortune Banks outlier acreage. Further relinquishment is not required until 6 months after completing the first well.

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