Tuesday, November 15, 2016
With crude prices where they currently stand, not many oil and gas firms are embarking on frontier exploration adventures; Essel Group Middle East (EGME) is bucking the trend. Through an acquisition of a stake in Simba Energy it gained frontier acreage in a number of countries in West Africa and one country in East Africa.
Currently the company holds stakes or is in the process of negotiating stakes in Liberia, Guinea, Ghana, Chad, and Kenya. While holding on to acreage in times of industry downturns is one thing, carrying out exploration programs, no matter how limited is another. EGME is carrying out operations on just about all of its acreage and is gearing up to drill on one asset.
In Liberia, where it holds an interest in acreage in the Roberts Bassa Basin, a FTG survey is on the books and a contract has been put out to tender. In Guinea’s Bove Basin on Blocks 1 and 2 EGME is close to finalizing a PSC with the government and has appointed Bell Geospace to undertake a FTG survey. According to EGME CEO Punkaj Gupta, in an interview with Petroleum Africa, work will start as soon as the necessary regulatory approvals are in.
The company has also negotiated with the government of Ghana for an exploration license in the Voltaian Basin. Gupta commenting on the timing of the license said, “We have negotiated the final terms and conditions with the Ghanaian Government and we expect to conclude the terms of the production sharing contract before the end of the year.”
While all of the acreage is frontier Gupta considers Chad “the least developed oil region.” The company held title to three blocks; the Erdis, the Chari Sud Block I, and the Chari Sud Block II. EGME decided to exit the Edriss after conducting a thorough review of its Chadian assets. “We will instead be focusing on the Chari Sud Block I and Chari Sud Block II, which are situated in the south of the country.” Gupta said EGME is confident about the prospects for both Chari Sud I and II.