African Petroleum gives up half of its Sierra Leone licence. Enters next phase

African Petroleum, an independent oil and gas exploration company, has announced that its subsidiary European Hydrocarbons Limited (EHL) has entered into the first extension period on the SL-03 licence, offshore Sierra Leone.

The expiry date of the first extension period is April 23, 2017.

The initial exploration period on the SL-03 licence expired on April 23, 2015 with EHL fulfilling all obligations, including the acquisition of 2,500 km2 3D seismic, African Petroleum said on Wednesday.

In April 2015, EHL gave notice to the Sierra Leone Petroleum Directorate of its intention to enter into the first extension period on the SL-03 licence and this has recently been approved. In accordance with the requirements of the petroleum licence agreement, EHL has relinquished 50% of the SL-03 licence area, reducing the licence area from 3,860 km2 to 1,930 km2, said African Petroleum.

The company added that, at the same time with the approval of the entry into the first extension period, the Petroleum Directorate agreed to modify the work program, minimum expenditure requirements and social obligations in favor of EHL during the first extension period on the licence. The licence amendments are subject to ratification by the Parliament of Sierra Leone.

African Petroleum also said that detailed mapping of 3D seismic has identified a number of prospects. The Altair Channel is the most easterly of these and exhibits a high amplitude seismic expression within a stratigraphic trap, the company said. Independently assessed by ERC Equipoise, the estimated net un-risked mean prospective oil resources attributable to the Altair prospect is 434MMstb. African Petroleum notes that the forward program provides an opportunity to analyse the seismic data fully prior to making a commitment to drill an exploration well.

Commenting on the announcement, Jens Pace, CEO of African Petroleum said: “We are pleased to be entering the next phase on licence SL-03 in Sierra Leone. The first extension period provides a further 18 months to complete geoscience work over the block ahead of drilling an exploration well. With significant prospectivity identified in the Company’s adjacent licence SL-4A-10 (the Vega and Leo prospects) which we believe extends into SL-03, the additional time allows us the opportunity for further mapping of the Campanian sand fairway and investigation of promising Direct Hydrocarbon Indicators.”

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