London-Based Energy Firms Bolster African Portfolios

London-based energy companies Independent Resources plc and Victoria Oil & Gas Plc have moved to bolster their portfolios in Africa through increased working interests in projects in Tunisia and Cameroon, respectively.

The Board of Independent Resources plc announced Thursday that Independent Resources Ksar Hadada Limited (IRKH), a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, has assumed 100 percent of the contractor interest in the onshore Ksar Hadada hydrocarbon exploration permit in Tunisia, with immediate effect.

IRKH is now the sole contractor in the production sharing contract following a successful submission to Entreprise Tunisienne d'Activités Pétrolières (ETAP) and the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mines to facilitate the withdrawal of its minority partners. IRKH has also requested that ETAP submit an application to DGE for a one-year extension to the Ksar Hadada permit.

Commenting on the development, Independent Resources CEO Greg Coleman said in a company statement:

"We are pleased to be have increased our interest in the Ksar Hadada permit and will continue to seek a farm-in partner. IRKH will now have greater flexibility to agree new commercial arrangements with interested parties and in the short-term will have a reduced administrative burden as sole contractor.

“We have been engaged in ongoing discussions with ETAP in order to prepare our application for an extension. Our immediate priorities are to continue planning for the acquisition of 3D seismic, to prepare our drilling program and to progress discussions with potential farm-in partners. The company is also continuing to seek both debt and equity finance to meet its future financing requirements."

In Cameroon, Victoria Oil & Gas Plc revealed Thursday that the government has approved the assignment of a 75 percent participating interest in the Matanda Production Sharing Contract from Glencore Exploration Cameroon Limited to Gaz Du Cameroun Matanda S.A. As a result of the transaction, Victoria Oil & Gas will become Matanda's operator through its 100 percent owned subsidiary.

Details of the work program at the asset will be announced following a forthcoming operating committee meeting between GDC Matanda, AFEX and Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures du Cameroun, according to a statement from Victoria Oil & Gas.

GDC Matanda will concentrate on the onshore areas of Matanda near the existing Logbaba field with the aim of increasing reserves of gas to be sold into existing and new markets within Cameroon. Work is expected to commence at Matanda during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Victoria Oil & Gas Chairman Kevin Foo said in a company statement:

"We are pleased with the approval of our 75 percent assignment over the Matanda PSC and are keen to begin our work program. The large Matanda license area provides the company with an area over 60 times our existing concession at Logbaba and a critical strategic and geological connection between the two. Upon completion of the current Logbaba two well program for the second half of this year, we shall turn our attention to development of Matanda".

A graduate in journalism from Cardiff University, Andreas has eight years of experience as a business journalist. Email Andreas at andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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