Mauritania Gives Baraka Green Light for Taoudeni Work

Taoudeni Basin, Mauritania
(Click to Enlarge)
Baraka Petroleum Limited announced that the Mauritanian Government's Ministre de l'Energie et du Petrole (MEP) department has approved the 2007 work program and budget for its Mauritania onshore Taoudeni Basin Blocks Ta11 and Ta12.

The 2007 exploration activities budget is forecast to be approximately US$4.9 million. Baraka has a 100% free carry through this work program. As part of the approved work program the operator will conduct Airborne Magnetics, Gravity surveys and geological studies. The airborne magnetics and gravity survey will be 37,000 km in length, commence in May and conclude in September 2007.

The Operator recently completed a 3D thermal modeling study in Ta11/12 region with the objective of determining the area's relative prospectivity for oil and gas generation. Preliminary modeling results are encouraging, with a wide range of thermal maturities expected from south to north.

In January 2006, the company announced that seismic data for these blocks had been successfully reprocessed, with leads originally identified in the mid-1970s confirmed. One of the reprocessed seismic lines runs through the ABOLAG-1 well which was drilled in 1974 and recorded an encouraging gas flow of 480,000 scf/d from the Infracambrian combined source rock and reservoir interval. The reprocessed seismic data suggests that these Infracambrian rocks are present throughout permits Ta11 and Ta12.

Baraka's General Manager, Mark Fenton, believes this is another step forward to the beginning of an aggressive exploration campaign in this highly prospective region. "We greatly appreciate the Mauritanian Government's support of our activities in this region and we look forward to the start of the forthcoming airborne work program," he said.

Baraka's subsidiary, Baraka Mauritania Ventures Limited (BMV), and Woodside Mauritania Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Woodside Petroleum Limited (Woodside), entered into a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for the Taoudeni Basin Blocks Ta11 and Ta12 in 2004. Woodside opted for a farm-in of 75% interest and operatorship, with Baraka maintaining 25% interest. The blocks cover approximately 60,000sqkm and cover an area near the Mali / Mauritanian border.

Baraka Petroleum Limited is a public company, established to acquire, consolidate and develop oil and gas assets and activities, located initially in the potential hydrocarbon basins in West Africa. Baraka has one of the largest oil and gas exploration assets in West Africa. The Company has secured rights to explore and develop eight tenement areas covering over 272,000 km2 in Mauritania and Mali. The Company's corporate strategy is to maximize the possibility of success and minimize risk by sharing exploration expenditure on its tenements through farm outs and joint ventures, thereby allowing it to aggressively pursue further high-value near-field opportunities and undervalued production assets.

The Taoudeni Basin underlies eastern Mauritania and western Mali. The prospectivity of the basin is based on the presence of good-quality source rocks of Silurian and Infracambrian age. The Silurian shales are believed to be equivalent to the organically rich Tanezzuft Shale in the prolific oil and gas producing Illizi Basin in Algeria. The Illizi Basin reportedly contains minimum reserves of 7 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The black shales of Infracambrian age are similar to those of the West Siberia Basin.

According to anecdotal stories, at outcrop around the northern rim of the Taoudeni Basin these rocks are burned by local nomads. The prospectivity is further supported by results obtained from the Abolag-1 well in the Mauritanian sector of the basin in 1974, which flowed 480 000sfcd gas on test from fractured dolomites of the Middle Infracambrian.

Four wells have been drilled in the basin, including Abolag-1. Two of the other three drill holes contained hydrocarbon shows. These wells were drilled on the basis of sparse seismic data with line spacings of between 10 and 50 kms The review work confirmed the prospectivity of the area covered by the two PSCs totaling approximately 69,000km2 in the Mauritanian sector of this extremely large basin.

Evaluation of the Taoudeni Basin is thus an early stage, requiring new aeromagnetic, gravity and seismic data acquisition prior to drilling operations. The areas are very large and, if workable petroleum systems can be shown to be present, then the potential for discovering major gas or oil discoveries will be relatively good.


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