Antonio Oburu Ondo, Equatorial Guinea’s recently appointed Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, has awarded independent exploration and production company, Panoro Energy, a 56% participating interest and operatorship in Block EG-01 offshore the hydrocarbon-rich West African country, as well as Canadian oil and gas company, the Africa Oil Corporation, two production sharing contracts (PSC) for offshore Blocks EG-18 and EG-31.
With the PSCs, the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, under the leadership of Minister Ondo, has taken significant strides towards opening up Equatorial Guinea’s offshore basins even further, working closely with two reputable oil and gas companies to usher in a new era of hydrocarbon exploration and production.
For Panoro, the awarding of Block EG-01 enables the company to work alongside its partners in the block, Kosmos Energy (24%) and national oil company, GEPetrol (20%), to conduct subsurface studies on existing seismic data to identify and define hydrocarbon reserves available over a period of three years. Located in water depths of between 30 meters and 500 meters, Block EG-01 has indicated the presence of high-quality hydrocarbon reserves, with previous exploration activities encountering thin oil and gas pay as well as oil shows. To date, the Eocene sands and Upper Cretaceous identified in the block have been tied to producing wells in Block G – bordering Block EG-01 – where over one billion barrels of commercial oil reserves have been identified. With Panoro Energy and its partners set to extend the contract with an additional two years to conduct exploration activities, the PSC is set to drive Equatorial Guinea into a new era of oil and gas market expansion.
John Hamilton, the CEO of Panoro Energy, stated that the “awarding of Block EG-01 is a natural and complementary expansion of our portfolio in Equatorial Guinea, and is in line with our infrastructure-led exploration strategy, increasing our access to a large inventory of oil prospects and leads within tie back distance of existing production facilities for a modest financial exposure. Panoro is pleased to become an operator in Equatorial Guinea.”
The new contract increases Panoro Energy’s contribution towards the growth of Equatorial Guinea’s energy sector. As a partner and operator in the Ceiba Field and Okune Complex – comprising six operating oil and gas wells – Panoro Energy has been crucial player in maintaining Equatorial Guinea’s energy sector stability and growth. With Panoro Energy’s contract in the Ceiba Field extended to 2029 and in the Okume Complex to 2034, the company’s role in driving Equatorial Guinea’s energy future is imminent.
Meanwhile, for the Africa Oil Corporation, the duo-PSCs enable the company to enter into the promising Equatorial Guinean market. With the agreements, the Canadian explorer will own an 80% interest in both Block EG-18 and EG-31, with GEPetrol owning a 20% interest in each. Currently, Block EG-31 has shown to contain several gas-prone prospects in shallow water depths of less than 80 meters, and is strategically situated close to existing infrastructure such as the Alba gas field and onshore Punta Europa liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. As such, the Africa Oil Corporation has emphasized that any future discoveries could present low-cost, low-risk gas development, thereby further consolidating the country’s position as a global LNG hub.
In Block EG-18, potentially large and highly prospective basin floor fan prospects of Cretaceous age – similar to those within the company’s portfolio in Namibia and South Africa – further enhance opportunities for sizeable discoveries. As such, President and CEO, Keith Hill, stated that, “These blocks offer high-impact value upside for our shareholders at relatively low cost, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the government of Equatorial Guinea to explore and develop its natural resources.”
While Minister Ondo is prioritizing boosting Equatorial Guinea’s oil and gas exploration and production to meet growing energy demand locally, across the region and at global scale, the partnership with both Panoro Energy and Africa Oil Corporation is a step in the right direction towards boosting the country’s energy landscape. As such, the African Energy Chamber (AEC), as the voice of the African energy sector, strongly supports and commends Minister Ondo’s move in setting the pace for the country’s oil and gas industry expansion by maximizing exploration activities.
“We need to drill more wells in Equatorial Guinea and the Gulf of Guinea. Panoro and Africa Oil Corp will work in a proven but underexplored oil basin in the Gulf of Guinea and it makes it exciting to see the results of their work in the near future,” stated NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the AEC.
“We have always believed that you need to invest in exploration if you want to see production of oil and gas. The move by the Minister as well as Panoro Energy and Africa Oil Corp should be commended. We strongly support the minister’s strategic response in addressing Equatorial Guinea’s natural decline in oil and gas production. We believe that the awarding of the three PSCs will bring in the much-needed investments to accelerate exploration and production in West Africa. We look forward to witnessing some new discoveries on these exciting blocks in the future,” concluded Ayuk.
Deals such as Panoro Energy and the Africa Oil Corporation’s in Equatorial Guinea will be a key focus at this year’s African Energy Week (AEW) conference and exhibition – Africa’s premier event for the energy sector – which will take place from 16-20 October in Cape Town. AEW 2023’s high-level panel discussions, deal-signings, exhibitions and exclusive networking sessions will focus on how African energy producing countries such as Equatorial Guinea can maximize oil and gas exploration and production through partnerships with local, regional and international independents and majors.