Ophir Energy Expands Offshore Gabon Footprint

Africa-focused independent oil firm Ophir Energy reported Friday that it has expanded its footprint offshore Gabon by signing exploration and production sharing contracts for two additional blocks.

The new blocks, A3 and A4, are located outside of Ophir's existing acreage in the North Gabon basin. Block A3 (called the Nkouere PSC) covers an area of 250 square miles, while Block A4 (Nkawa PSC) covers an area of 775 square miles. Both cover water depths of between 6,560 feet and 8,200 feet.

Ophir said its analysis of its 2014 North Gabon drill campaign has enhanced the prospectivity of the deepwater distal margin of the North Gabon Basin. In particular the Cretaceous section, where a now-proven oil-prone marine source rock is overlain by a series of deepwater coarse sand, offers a petroleum system with the potential for large stratigraphic and structural traps, the company said.

This frontier play is thus far unexplored in the West Atlantic margins and Ophir said it is now well positioned to chase the play with an expanded footprint comprised of its existing acreage and the new Nkouere and Nkawa PSCs.

The company is currently in the process of arranging a 3D seismic data acquisition program over the play in its existing blocks and will now add the new blocks to this program.

Ophir has a 100-percent participating interest and operatorship in the two new blocks. The Gabonese State has the right to acquire a 20-percent interest in the newly awarded Nkouere and Nkawa PSCs on commencement of production, the firm added.

Ophir CEO Nick Cooper commented in a company statement:

"Given our learnings from the 2014 campaign, we are pleased to have secured Nkouere and Nkawa PSCs. This frontier play is untested in the West Atlantic margins, and Ophir with the award of these blocks, together with our existing North Gabon acreage, is now able to embark in the next phase of Atlantic frontier exploration, offshore Gabon."

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