After a prolonged period without a formal offering, the Government of Gabon has responded to the upsurge in exploration interest in Central West Africa by announcing a new License Round for 2009. This new Round, due to be launched shortly by the Ministere des Mines, De L'Energie, Du Petrole, Des Hydrocarbures, Des Ressources et de la Promotion Des Energies Nouvelles, is expected to be for the offshore deep water areas, with particular emphasis on the pre-salt targets in the southern area of Gabon. Pre-salt targets are currently creating a considerable amount of interest following the recently announced successes in deep water offshore Brazil. In support of this License Round, CGGVeritas has announced a contract with the Direction Generale des Hydrocarbures (DGH) to acquire a new extensive non-exclusive 2D survey in Gabon's highly prospective waters, to be completed in 2008. This move is a further example of the company's commitment to offering the most recent and technologically advanced data library in the world's key locations.
Gabon is a country with proven hydrocarbon resources and recent years have seen an increase in licensing and exploration activity, encouraged by sustained high oil prices and growing worldwide demand. Gabon has a well established oil and gas industry and was producing significant amounts of oil in the 1970s with production peaking in 1997 at 371,000 barrels per day. By 2003 this had fallen to less than 290,000 barrels. However, reserves have doubled since 1996 and are now estimated at 2.6 billion barrels, giving significant statistical support to those promoting the region's potential.
"There is considerable untapped potential in the salt province of Gabon, especially in the pre-salt section which is currently poorly resolved on seismic," explained Steve Toothill, Chief Geologist for CGGVeritas in Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME).
In support of the international call for participation in the new License Round by Gabon's Deputy Energy Minister, Sylvain Momoadjambo, it is expected that a number of open deep-water blocks will be made available, amounting to approximately 110,000 square kilometers of total acreage.
The statistical and geological opportunities offshore Gabon are complemented by its impressive record as a mature and stable environment in which to do business. The fiscal and production terms outlined by the DGH are tailored to the needs of the modern explorer and recognize the importance of both flexibility and stability in defining a productive business environment. Pressure continues to grow for reserve replacement throughout the hydrocarbon sector, whilst new opportunities to effectively meet these demands become fewer - in Gabon, CGGVeritas believes there is the potential for extensive new plays that will provide an important contribution to answering these challenges.
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