Oslo-listed BW Energy has snapped up two blocks close to its Dussafu asset in Gabon's 12th licensing round.
The bid round has been running since 2019 but has been hit by delays — many related to Covid-19.
Upstream was unable to immediately confirm which other companies have been awarded acreage in the licensing exercise.
BW Energy — in partnership with Dussafu partner Panoro Energy and Gabon-focused Vaalco Energy — said it has been provisionally awarded operatorship of the G12-13 and H12-13 blocks.
Production sharing contracts still need to be signed with the DGH, the country's oil and gas regulator.
These two blocks are adjacent to BW Energy's Dussafu licence and cover areas of 2989 and 1929 square kilometres respectively.
The blocks will be held by a consortium composed of operator BW on 37.5% and Panoro on 25%, while Vaalco — operator of the adjacent producing Etame PSC — will also hold a 37.5% stake.
After the PSCs are signed, they will have an exploration period of eight years with an option to extend by a further two years.
The partners have committed to drill exploration wells in the exploration period and intend to carry out 3D seismic acquisition campaigns on both blocks.
BW Energy said the trio of companies has, over the past 15 years, undertaken successful exploration, development and production projects at both Dussafu and Etame where, in total, about 250 million barrels of oil have been discovered to date and multiple fields put into production.
BW chief executive Carl Arnet said: “These blocks are situated in core areas for (us), most within tie-back distance of existing infrastructure with the potential for rapid value creation from future discoveries.
"As we prepare for additional production coming on line from our Hibiscus-Ruche project in 2022, these licence awards, combined with our ongoing development projects, further demonstrate BW Energy`s commitment to Gabon and to our ambitions of growing both production and cash flow.”
Panoro chief executive John Hamilton added: “Blocks G12-13 and H12-13 are a logical and contiguous extension of our footprint in a core area and, by forming an exciting partnership with BW and Vaalco, we will be able to leverage our collective experience to mature and high grade the exploration potential on the blocks in the coming years."
On Dussafu, production through to the end of June averaged about 12,000 barrels per day from the Tortue field, with output expected to hit more than 40,000 bpd in 2024 once other fields are brought on stream.
Production from Etame has been running at about 14,000 bpd and could increase to some 22,000 bpd in the coming year or two.
Both shallow-water assets have, to date, been developed by wellhead platforms and subsea wells tied back to floating production vessels.
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