ERHC announced that the Joint Development Authority (JDA) has approved a 6-month extension of Exploration Phase I in Joint Development Zone (JDZ) Block2. The JDZ lies in the deepwater between Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea. The extension will enable Sinopec Corp., the operator of the Block, to complete all studies needed for further exploration.
Last month, ERHC supported Sinopec Corp., ERHC's technical partner, in applying to enter into Exploration Phase II pending the completion of the studies. Instead, agreement was reached with the JDA to further extend Exploration Phase I to enable completion of the studies before commencement of Phase II. A similar decision to extend Exploration Phase I in JDZ Blocks 3 and 4 was announced in September.
ERHC has 22 percent interest of JDZ Block 2, 10 percent interest of JDZ Block 3 and 19.5 percent interest of JDZ Block 4. The contracting parties' commitments on Exploration Phase I of JDZ Blocks 2, 3 and 4 were successfully met with the drilling of five wells in the three blocks between August 2009 and January 2010. All the wells were completed within time and according to budget. Natural gas was discovered in at least three of the wells.
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