ExxonMobil has struck a deal to acquire a 30% stake in Namibia’s Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 44. Azinam announced the agreement on August 14, saying it would keep a 12.5% stake in the offshore block.
Other partners in the block will keep their current stakes, with Maurel et Prom holding 42.5%, and serving as operator, while Namcor, Livingstone Mining and Frontier Minerals carry 8%, 4% and 3%, respectively.
The Walvis Basin block covers 5,722 square km, with water depths ranging from 300 to more than 2,500 metres.
Azinam acquired 2,000 square km of 3D seismic in 2016 and, after this was interpreted, another 1,160 square km, which is being processed.
The Seacrest Capital Group-backed company’s managing director, David Sturt, welcomed ExxonMobil to the licence, saying this supported Azinam’s “technical view of the Walvis Basin and our licence areas. Azinam has built a substantial position, with a footprint that extends over 62,000 square km of the Walvis Basin, providing a unique data footprint and comprehensive understanding of the region.”
Azinam has signed up the Ocean Rig Poseidon to drill a well on PEL 71’s Prospect S. First, the rig will drill a well on the Cormorant prospect, for Tullow Oil, in PEL 37. This is expected in September, with the rig currently in the Gulf of Guinea. Azinam’s chairman, Erik Tiller, said the company planned to drill multiple wells offshore Namibia and would “seek appropriate strategic partners to join us in the next phases of our licence developments”.
PEL 71 is operated by Chariot Oil & Gas, which has had a string of bad luck at the drillbit. Namibia is considered to be underexplored and only one semi-commercial gas project has been demonstrated. That said, the Wingat-1 well, drilled in 2013 in the Walvis Basin did recover a small amount of oil to the surface – thereby helping sustain industry hopes for Namibia.
Over the last few years, a number of majors have signed up to work in Namibia’s offshore, with India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) farming in to PEL 30 and 37 in late 2017. Total signed up to work with Impact Oil and Gas last year, while Royal Dutch Shell took a stake in the Orange Basin in 2014.