UK junor Zenith Energy has been given three months to secure a promising exploration block offshore Benin by the Porto Novo-based government.

In September, the London-listed player said it had submitted an offer for Block 1, which hosts the Seme oilfield.

Today, Zenith revealed that Benin's Ministry of Water & Mines had granted it an exclusivity period of three months to negotiate and finalise the terms of a production sharing contract for the acreage.

The company’s chief executive Andrea Cattaneo said: “Block-1 represents a potentially transformational development opportunity for Zenith because of its sizeable unexploited potential, indicated by its independently assessed oil and gas reserves and past production, and existing field infrastructure.”

In 1998, production stopped at Seme which holds estimated recoverable reserves of 22 million to 28 million barrels of oil and 428 billion cubic feet of gas.

The field produced a reported 22 million barrels before being shut-in, with production rates averaging about 2000 barrels per day.

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