Africa-focused Chariot Oil & Gas announced Tuesday that its wholly owned subsidiary, Chariot Oil & Gas Investments, has entered into a production sharing contract with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for a 90-percent interest and operatorship in offshore Block C19, which covers an area of 5,450 square miles (14,125 square kilometers). The contract remains subject to routine approval by the state before it becomes effective.
The contract consists of an initial three-year period, during which Chariot has agreed to reprocess the existing 2D seismic datasets and then to carry out a 6180-square mile (1,600-square kilometer) 3D seismic survey. Following the results of this work, Chariot may then elect to move forward into subsequent phases of the contract which would involve the undertaking of exploration drilling activities. Chariot will be partnered with Société Mauritaniennede Hydrocarbures (SMH), the national oil company of Mauritania, which will participate with a 10-percent carried interest. In the event of a commercial discovery, the State will have the option to increase its interest to 15 percent.
Chariot said that Block C19 is a highly-attractive addition to its existing offshore West Africa portfolio. The block is located 19 miles (30 kilometers) off the coast of Mauritania with water depths ranging from 16 feet to 6,890 feet (5 meters to 2,100 meters). Like Chariot's Namibian portfolio, it is in an area where petroleum systems are proven but exploration is very immature. Also, as in Namibia, Mauritania offers a favorable working environment, fair fiscal terms and a developed, stable resource sector, said the firm.
"We are very pleased to announce the expansion of our portfolio into offshore Mauritania and entrance into an already oil producing province," said Chariot CEO Paul Welch. "This has always been part of our longer term strategy through which we aim to mitigate risk and balance our portfolio. The team continues to carefully evaluate African deep water opportunities in order to find additional blocks of interest."
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