Galp is in the process of farming out a stake in its Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 82, in Namibia, to ExxonMobil. The US company has been on something of a tear in recent weeks, signing up a number of interests along Africa’s Atlantic shelf – and committing to a US$50 billion investment over the next five years in the US.
Announcing the move on January 31, Galp said it would transfer a 40% stake to a subsidiary of the US company, keeping 40%, and the role of operator, for itself. State-owned Namcor has a 10% stake in the licence and Custos, a local Namibian company, backed by a prominent businessman, Knowledge Katti, has the remaining 10%.
The deal is subject to approval from the Namibian authorities. Galp did not provide any further details on the transaction.
Local Namibian reports in 2017 said that during the initial three-year exploration period on the licence, 2,500 square km of 3D seismic was required to be shot. Drilling would be required in subsequent phases.
PEL 82 is in the Walvis Basin, covering 11,444 square km, with water depths ranging from 300 to 2,000 metres. The licence is made up of two blocks: 2112A and 2112B. It was previously known as PEL 23. Galp has a second licence in Namibia, PEL 83, made up Blocks 2813A and 2814B, in the southern Orange Basin.
Galp entered Namibia in 2012 and drilled two wells in the Walvis Basin in 2013, with a third in the Orange Basin. None of these wells were commercial but the Wingat-1 did find oil, although not in commercial volumes. The problem with Wingat appears to have been poor reservoir quality, but it did demonstrate two well-developed source rocks, with four oil samples extracted.
ExxonMobil announced the acquisition of the Deepwater Cape Three Points block, in Ghana, earlier in January. It also signed up three licences offshore Mauritania in December. Although the super-major is reluctant to provide insights into its strategic thinking, the recent strengthening of the oil price – combined with ExxonMobil’s success in Guyana, on the other side of the ocean – may go some way to explaining its moves.