Woodside Turns Down Rabat Deep Operatorship

Africa-focused Chariot Oil & Gas reported Tuesday that Woodside, its partner in the Rabat Deep license, offshore Morocco, has elected not to exercise its option to take over the operatorship of the license.

Woodside's decision has left Chariot seeking an additional partner in order to fund drilling on the Rabat Deep permits, which includes the JP-1 prospect that holds an estimated 618 million barrels of gross mean prospective resources. Had Woodside had taken on operatorship it would also have funding drilling on Rabat Deep in return for a further 25-percent stake in the license.

Chariot said that the JP-1 prospect "remains technically robust" based on 3D seismic data and that a competent person’s report will be undertaken following the interpretation of recently-received pre-stack migrated data. The firm added that a data room for Rabat Deep will open in due course and that it anticipates drilling of the JP-1 prospect will occur in late 2016/early 2017, subject to Chariot securing a partner.

Chariot Chief Executive Larry Bottomley commented in a company statement:

"It is disappointing that Woodside has not exercised its option, but we remain optimistic regarding the potential of the Rabat Deep permits and particularly that offered by the JP-1 prospect.

"These are challenging times for oil and gas companies and investment decisions are being affected as a result. As mentioned previously, partnering is tougher, but we also believe that this climate can be an opportunity for those who are looking to take advantage of high potential assets, such as those within our portfolio. Whilst the nature of the market is cyclical, the prospectivity that we see within our licenses remains transformational and Chariot's strong cash position will enable us to take advantage of opportunities to further enhance our asset base."

Woodside holds a 25-percent stake in Rabat Deep, while Chariot holds 50 percent. Morocco's Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines retains a 25-percent stake.

Chariot also reported that recent work on 3D seismic data acquired in its 2014 seismic campaign over its Loukos and Mohammedia licenses has identified further oil-prone prospectivity within the Neogene layer. This adds to several other "material" prospects previously identified by Chariot in Loukos/Mohammedia, including the JP-2 prospect that sits in the Jurassic layer. The firm is also seeking partners for these licenses.


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