A pair of Africa-focused independents have secured access to promising exploration acreage offshore Equatorial Guinea.

The deals with Africa Oil and Panoro Energy mark a revival in interest in the nation’s waters and come just two weeks after Antonio Oburu Ondo was appointed Minister of Mines & Hydrocarbons, replacing Gabriel Obiang Lima who is now Minister of Economy.

In late 2019, when the Bata-based government unveiled the winning bidders — including Africa Oil — in one of its rare licensing rounds, it had aimed to quickly sign production sharing contracts.