Gabon signs offshore E&P contracts with six firms

The government of Gabon has signed exploration and production contracts for offshore blocks with Noble Energy Inc., Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Marathon Oil Corp., Impact Oil & Gas Ltd., Repsol SA, and Petronas.

The deals, which follow Gabon’s licensing round in October 2013, include a production-sharing contract between Noble and Woodside covering deepwater Block F15 in the Gabon Coastal basin. Noble will operate the license with 60% interest and Woodside will hold the remaining 40%.

The PSC includes a 4-year seismic commitment and a future option for exploration drilling. Block F15 lies 87 miles offshore Gabon and covers more than 670,000 gross acres in 7,500-9,900 ft of water.

Susan M. Cunningham, Noble senior vice-president, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, and Frontier, commented, “Several substantial subsalt leads have already been identified on the acreage, and we expect the prospectivity of the block will be enhanced as the work program progresses.”

Peter Coleman, Woodside chief executive officer, described the deal as an opportunity for his company to secure significant acreage in a high-graded emerging oil-prone province with a like-minded and experienced partner. Woodside recently farmed into Morocco and Tanzania (OGJ Online, July 7, 2014; July 14, 2014).

Marathon Oil Exploration Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Marathon Oil, signed an exploration and production-sharing contract for deepwater presalt Block G13.

Marathon is operator with 100% interest. In the event of development, Gabon will assume 20% financed interest in the contract upon commencement of production. The country holds additional rights to participate in the block in the future as a co-investor.

The newly named Tchicuate block is 50 miles offshore Gabon and encompasses 275,000 acres in 3,250-8,250 ft of water. Marathon says the acreage is near proven shallow-water, presalt oil discoveries.

Marathon also holds 21.25% interest Gabon’s Total SA-operated Diaba License G4-223, encompassing 2.2 million gross acres, where the Diaman-1B discovery was made in 2013 (OGJ Online, Aug. 19, 2013).

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