WHL Energy Acquires Substantial Offshore Acreage with Exploration Potential in the Republic of Seychelles.

  • Business & Finance

WHL Energy Ltd. announcedthat it has signed a Share Sale Agreement with the shareholders of SEYCO Energy Pty Ltd. (SEYCO) to acquire 100% of the shares in SEYCO, an entity that is in the process of acquiring the rights to a large exploration holding on the southern continental shelf offshore Seychelles.

The agreement would include 35 exploration blocks in a prospective area in shallow waters covering an area of approximately 20,700 sq km (around 5 million acres) located about 100 km off the Seychelles coastline.

Newly appointed WHL CEO David Rowbottam said, “Following a strategic review, the Company identified this asset as a significant opportunity to drive its future growth.”

“Acquiring SEYCO, and its associated Seychelles exploration interests, will provide a new strategic focus for WHL Energy,” Rowbottam added.

On completion of the transaction, WHL Energy plans to move quickly to further assess the hydrocarbon prospectivity of the Seychelles blocks. Leading international geophysical company Fugro is programmed to begin acquisition of 7,000 km of 2D seismic over SEYCO’s blocks in November 2010. The contracted seismic vessel has been mobilized and is currently enroute to the Seychelles. The total estimated cost of this program is $7 million.

The planned survey will focus on 20 mapped structures identified from 2D seismic previously acquired over the nominated blocks.

The previously identified leads in the mapped structures include:

* Beau Valon – A giant drape structure estimated both by the previous operator Texaco and the current operator to hold as much as 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent;

* Coetivy Bank – A four way dip close structure with repeatable HC seep that has been mapped with 200 m of vertical closure over an area in excess of 100 sq km;

* Junon Bank – A super-giant fault block, mapped by a number of operators to have vertical closure in excess of 450 m, over an area exceeding 650 sq km. The oil upside on this structure is world class; and

* Creole – A giant stratigraphic pinch-out trap with associated seismic hydrocarbon indicators including gas chimney and a possible flat spot interpretation extending 24 km down dip from the pinch out termination.

The previously drilled wells also confirmed quality reservoirs with over 20% porosity in some of the sandstones and limestones and evidence of an active petroleum system.

The waters off the Republic of Seychelles have been assessed to have the capability to contain major hydrocarbon traps, with the potential to hold billions of barrels of oil.

The area is considered to be significantly underexplored with most activity occurring in the 1970s and 1980s, however, there has been a recent surge in interest in Seychelles on the back of a string of major petroleum finds along the east coast of Africa.

A recent report by Dublin-based Research and Markets described East Africa as emerging as the next major hub for oil and gas exploration and greater perceived prospectively resulting in greater exploration activities by various energy players to develop their operations and reserves base in East Africa.

Recent successes in the region include Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Cove Energy Plc’s discovery of more than 416 net feet of natural gas at the deepwater Barquentine exploration well in Mozambique and the same joint venture’s significant gas find at the Windjammer prospect in the same area in February 2010.

The region’s potential has also attracted new investors including UK-based Afren PLC, which recently concluded a takeover of Black Marlin Energy Holdings Ltd. Black Marlin, which holds 11,000 sq km (net) of exploration interests off the Seychelles coast, is currently the only other company with exploration permits in Seychelles.

The Republic of Seychelles is shortly expected to conduct an offshore licensing round for new exploration blocks which is likely to generate renewed interest in the country’s petroleum potential. A seismic acquisition program will be launched in advance of the round. A better understanding of the petroleum systems located off the coast of the Seychelles will also flow from the recent announcement that SEYPEC, Fugro, and Geomahakarsa have signed a Cooperation Agreement for the acquisition, processing, interpretation and license of geoscientific data within the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on a multi client basis.

Under this agreement, Switzerland-based Fugro Data Services AG and Indonesian-based geophysical company Geomahakarsa will together acquire over 17,000 km of 2D seismic, gravity and magnetic data within the Seychelles EEZ. At least 7,000 km of 2D seismic data will be acquired directly over SEYCO’s blocks.

SEYPEC has determined the project will improve geophysical data and geological understanding to promote interest in hydrocarbon exploration in the Seychelles.

All of the data acquired will be made available for license to oil and gas companies who are keen to explore for hydrocarbons in the EEZ of Seychelles.

The data acquisition will take place during the Q4 2010.


Source: Petroleum Africa, October  29, 2010;

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