Ophir Heads For Somaliland Exit

Ophir Heads For Somaliland Exit

Eoin O’Cinneide 

Ophir Energy is looking to quit its offshore Somaliland acreage, with the Africa-focused player also aiming to dispose of its interests off the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Western Sahara.

The London-listed player is also set to let a production-sharing contract off West Africa lapse and said it did not take up a second phase of a contract of Ghana following a duster earlier this year.

Ophir used to have a 75% stake in blocks SL9 and SL12, known as the Berbera blocks, off the semi-autonomous Somali territory of Somaliland, before farming out a 50% stake in each last year.

The explorer said on Thursday, however, that it is now looking to shed its remaining 25% holding in the acreage, which covers 24,420 square kilometers and sits in water depths of up to 1425 meters.

Norwegian player DNO denied on Thursday that it is looking to get out of its Somaliland acreage after a team working for it reportedly came under fire recently.

In SADR, the company currently has a 50% operated stake in four offshore blocks – Daora, Haouza, Mahbes and Mijek – together covering 74,327 square kilometers in water depths of between 200 meters and 2500 meters.

“Ophir is negotiating an agreement to dispose of its interests in SADR in exchange for an overriding royalty,” the company said on Thursday.

The explorer also looks like it is ready to quit the AGC Profond block in the joint development zone off Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, where it has a 79.2% operated stake. The block covers 9838 square kilometers in waters depths of 75 meters to 3500 meters.

“Interpretation of the 3D seismic survey undertaken in 2013 has continued and, whilst a number of promising leads and prospects have been identified, the production sharing contract is set to expire in September,” Ophir said.

Ophir bit dust at the Starfish-1 probe off Accra, Ghana last summer with the drillship Stena DrillMax, going deeper than originally planned. Although partners in the Offshore Accra Contract Area were given a six-month extension to begin exploration and bring in new players, operator Ophir decided not to accept the extension – which was set to end in September.

The company’s website no longer lists Ghana among its assets in Africa.

Ophir reported a net profit of $339.05 million in the first half, due to its farm-out in three blocks in Tanzania to Pavilion Energy for $1.25 billion. It did, however, booked a writedown of $65.9 million on the unsuccessful Affanga Deep-1 well in the Gnodo block off Gabon.

Shares were up around 4% in London at 9:30am on Thursday.

Source: Upstream

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