Marathon Returns to Gabon with Diaba Farm-out Agreement

Marathon Returns to Gabon with Diaba Farm-out Agreement

Marathon Oil Corporation has re-entered Gabon through a farm-out agreement with a subsidiary of Total for the offshore Diaba license, Marathon announced Friday.

The company will join Total and its partners in the Diaba license and permit in exploring the pre-salt objectives in the Diaba permit. Diaba, which encompasses approximately 3,502 square miles (9,075 square kilometers), is located approximately 31 miles (50 kilometers) offshore southern Gabon in water depths ranging from 328 and 11,482 feet (100 and 3,500 meters).

"This partnership combines the extensive deepwater drilling and completion experience of Marathon Oil, Cobalt and Total Gabon to fully evaluate the potential of this license," said Annell R. Bay, Marathon's vice president of global exploration.

Exploration drilling at Diaba is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013.

A 2,316 square mile (6,000 square kilometer) 3D seismic survey of the permit was conducted in 2010 following 2D seismic work in 2008 and 2009. Processing of the data was completed late last year.

Under the agreement, Marathon subsidiary Marathon Upstream Gabon Ltd. will acquire a 21.25 percent working interest in the Diaba License G4-223 and its related permit in Gabon. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, pending completion of Gabonese government and partner approvals.

Total is operator of the Diaba license. Partners in the Diaba license and permit include Cobalt International affiliate CIE Gabon Diaba Ltd., and the Republic of Gabon.

Marathon exited exploration and production activities in Gabon and Ireland, according to the company's 10-K filed on Feb. 26, 2010. Perenco acquired Marathon's Gabon subsidiary, Marathon Oil Gabon Limited, which held working interests in three offshore production fields, including Tchatamba Marin, Tchatamba South and Tchatamba West fields.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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