West Africa now offers "unparalleled opportunities" for major and independent oil and gas companies, writes Patrick Morris, CEO of Vancouver-based Gold Star Resources Corp. in the June 10th issue of AFROIL, Africa Oil & Gas Monitor.
Morris, author of a news column published in AFROIL entitled "West African Oil Rush, Challenges," reported that changing geopolitics, reduced security and political risks, the recent 1.8 billion barrel discovery in West Africa's largest oilfield, the Jubilee in Ghana, and a new African foreign policy by recently elected U.S. President Barack Obama have all helped in making West Africa a "desirable destination for oil and gas exploration and production."
According to Morris, "For a long time West Africa has been off the radar of the international community because of messy politics and brutal civil wars. Also, apart from Nigeria and Gabon, there had been the disappointing size of oil discoveries made at times of low oil prices. All this is now changing. Expectations by countries and oil & gas companies to discover new reserves in the region are high.
"Exploration and seismic research activities are under way in all countries of West Africa bar Burkina Faso and Cape Verde. Governments are also actively involved. For example, in Liberia, the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) is promoting oil and gas exploration and development of its hydrocarbon resources along its continental shelf and slope. The sub-region is also gaining global attention as calm has been restored to countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d' Ivoire, reducing security risks."
"The role of junior exploration companies is to set the trend," Morris writes in his news column. " For example, Gold Star Resources is the first and only junior company to go after onshore oil and gas opportunities in Cote d' Ivoire and Liberia since the 1970s. Larger players are competing for offshore blocks all along the coast -- but with no plans for any onshore exploration."
Gold Star Resources recently signed a Letter-of-Intent with Bengal Bight Ghana to acquire 100% of the hydrocarbon rights to the Tiampoum mining concession, approximately 1,000 square km, in Cote d' Ivoire. In January, Gold Star entered West Africa when it acquired 90% of the issued and outstanding shares of Liberia's International Resources Strategies Liberia Energy (IRSLE).
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