Nigeria and São Tomé and Principe have awarded French oil giant Total exclusive right to begin oil exploration in three blocks 7, 8 and 11, located within the oil-rich Joint Development Zone (JDZ) owned by both countries.
A Production Sharing Contract (PSC) was signed between Total and the Nigeria-Sao Tome Joint Development Authority (JDA) at a ceremony in Abuja yesterday.
To manage the hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon resources in the maritime boundary of the two countries, Nigeria, Sao Tome, and Principe formed the Joint Development Authority (JDA) in 2002.
Speaking at the PSC signing ceremony, the Managing Director Total Exploration and Production Nigeria (TEPN), Mr. Nicholas Terraz, said the oil company would invest more to acquire 3-dimensional seismic data in the blocks.
Terraz, said it would be too early to estimate the hydrocarbon potentials of the blocks, adding that more than 1000 squares kilometres of the field would be explored.
The acting Chairman of the JDA, Dr. Almajiri Geidam, stated that the signing of the PSC with Total was aimed at reviving activities at the JDZ after years of idleness.
Geidam, noted that the JDA intends to also revive interests on the JDZ amongst investors and oil companies.
He said: “Since the JDA was established in January 2002, it has held two licensing rounds which culminated into the award of six blocks in the JDZ.
Some exploration activity took place in most of the blocks that resulted in some discoveries of hydrocarbons.”
He said the PSC signing which is as a result of a careful re-engagement of the industry by the board aimed at reviving the fortunes of the JDZ required Total to be commended for the renewed interest in the zone.
“Furthermore, this event is expected to elicit even more interest and confidence of other prospective investors,” Geidam, added.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Monitoring and Inspections at the JDA, Dr. Ibiwari Jack, stated that the oil blocks assigned to Total had not been explored before now and that the company would be the first to explore it.
“Having Total back to our JDZ gives us so much confidence. If others look back to see Total, they will want to come.
“They will go to do their seismic studies there and hopefully in the next one or two years, we will get to know the potentials but the prospect is there, very huge,” Ibiwari said.