"Naturally, we are very pleased with the decision by the Joint Development Authority," said George Kirkland, president of ChevronTexaco Overseas Petroleum. "This represents a new opportunity to expand and strengthen further ChevronTexaco's asset base in West Africa in alignment with our growth strategy for the region."
ChevronTexaco will be operator with a 51 percent interest in the block, located approximately 190 miles (300 kilometers) north of the city of Sao Tome in 5,700 feet (1,750 meters) of water. ExxonMobil has been awarded a 40 percent interest. The remaining 9 percent has been awarded to the Norwegian company Equity Energy Resources.
Adding his comments on the announcement, Jay Pryor, ChevronTexaco's managing director for its Nigeria/Mid-Africa business unit, said, "Block 1 represents an exciting opportunity to explore a new and promising area. We are looking forward to finalizing all the necessary contract details shortly so that we can be in a position to commence exploration activities as early as possible in 2004."
Pryor also welcomed the progressive approach to governance and transparency adopted by the Nigerian and Sao Tome governments throughout the bidding process.
"Like ChevronTexaco, Presidents Obasanjo and de Menezes understand that good governance is a cornerstone of good business and that it is in all our interests to make progress in this important area," said Pryor. "The disclosure of the Block 1 signing bonus is fully in line with what we have long believed and called for: that efforts to address the management of oil revenues should be led by affected governments, not imposed on them by others. We are pleased that the JDA has taken this bold step, and we stand by to work openly with the JDA in support of its future transparency efforts."
Concluding with a reference to ChevronTexaco's corporate responsibility commitment in a new country of operation, Pryor noted that the company already is collaborating with the Sao Tome government on a project designed to roll back malaria and also is helping to develop programs to enhance HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness among the country's teenagers.
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