Sierra Leone Issues Oil Prospecting Awards to 9 Companies

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - Sierra Leone's government said Tuesday it had issued provisional offshore oil prospecting awards to nine companies after what it described as a "painstaking and time consuming technical evaluation process."

In a statement the government said an open tender process had attracted 59 applications to find "credible companies with the requisite technical expertise and financial capability to advance the nation's oil and gas prospectivity."

It added that the awards are provisional and subject to further negotiations.

Some of the successful companies include African Petroleum Corp., which is focused on offshore prospect acquisition in west Africa, and Kosmos Energy Ltd., which discovered the Jubilee Field offshore in Ghana in 2007.

Signet Petroleum, active in Benin, Burundi, Namibia and Tanzania, and Minexco Petroleum, which is involved in west Africa and South America, were also among those awarded prospecting rights.

In February American-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. struck oil in its Jupiter-1 well off the coast of the west African nation--the third such find since 2012.

In 2011, a report from Sierra Leone said the country stands to generate more than $100 million annually once oil production gets underway, a significant boost to domestic revenues.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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