Cameroon and Namibia offer E&P licenses

Aug. 2, 1999
Cameroon's Societé Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH) has announced the country's third licensing round, which will include unlicensed deepwater and onshore acreage.

Cameroon`s Societé Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH) has announced the country`s third licensing round, which will include unlicensed deepwater and onshore acreage.

Meanwhile, National Petroleum Corp. of Namibia has decided to adopt an open licensing system after no formal bids were made for licenses under Namibia`s recent third licensing round.

The Cameroon licensing round will be open from Sept. 30, 1999, until Mar. 31, 2000. It will offshore acreage in two basins: the Douala/Kribi-Campo basin, in the southwest extent of Cameroon`s offshore territory; and the Logone Birni basin, in northern Cameroon to the south of Lake Chad (see map).

Richard Bray, associate geoscientist at Exploration Consultants Ltd., Henley-on-Thames, U.K., told OGJ that, while the acreage to be offered has been decided, SNH is expected to redefine license boundaries ahead of the round, based on recent seismic data acquired over the two areas.

Cameroon prospectivity
Exploration Consultants said, "Both the offshore and onshore regions being offered are considered to have significant potential for new hydrocarbon discoveries. Both areas are covered by extensive new and historical seismic surveys, but neither has yet been explored by drilling."

The offshore acreage covers 2,400 sq km in 200-1,500 m of water. The Douala/Kribi-Campo basin constitutes the most northerly part of the West African basin system, " of the world`s most prolific petroleum pro- vinces."

The nearest producing field is Kribi, which lies 30 km to the east of the open acreage. Exploration Consultants said the area on offer is covered by 1,500 line-km of 2D seismic data, including 1,200 km acquired by Western Geophysical Inc. in 1998: "The data reveal a thick, highly prospective sequence of Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments, with recognized prospects in a variety of deepwater plays."

The onshore acreage is covered by 1,300 line-km of 2D data, of which 1,000 km was acquired in 1997 by Geofyzika AS: "These data confirm the existence of a Cretaceous rift basin overlain by Tertiary deposits beneath the Quaternary cover of the Lake Chad basin," said Exploration Consultants.

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The Logone Birni basin forms part of the Cretaceous and Tertiary Central African rift system, which in neighboring Niger and Chad contains seven oil and gas discoveries: "The planned pipeline from the Doba oil fields in Chad through northeastern Cam-eroon to Kribi will provide export infrastructure for any discoveries made in the Logone Birni region."

Exploration Consultants said promotional seminars will be held in London on Sept. 16 and in Houston on Sept. 21. Meanwhile, the Cameroon government is expected to pass new, attractive petroleum legislation ahead of the licensing round.

Namibian round
The Namibian state firm blamed the lack of success of its own third licensing round on the downturn in the world economy and the low oil price environment during September 1998-February 1999.

The round closed on Mar. 31, 1999, and while "numerous inquiries" were received, no companies submitted formal bids.

Hence, Namibia has adopted an open-door policy for all available acreage, effective immediately.

The state company said the move is regarded as only a temporary measure: "The fact that, despite this international downturn, Shell Exploration & Production Namibia is still actively pursuing development of the large Kudu gas field is a good indicator for the future of exploration for hydrocarbons in Namibia."

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