Image: Angola Embassy
The Nigeria-São Tomé and Príncipe Joint Development Authority (JDA) and Total Nigeria signed a new production sharing contract (PSC) on Thursday, which grants the French oil giant the exclusive right to begin exploration activities in three blocks.
Blocks 7, 8 and 11 are located within the hydrocarbon-rich Joint Development Zone (JDZ) owned by both countries in the Gulf of Guinea. Having never been explored before, the blocks carry the potential of over 500 million barrels of untapped crude oil.
According to Managing Director of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria, Nicholas Terraz, Total will invest more than $10 million in the acquisition of 3D seismic data of oil and gas prospects in the blocks, with over 1,000km2 of the field being explored.
“This is for seismic acquisitions and the investment is over $10 million. It is too early to tell the quantity of oil. We have a four-year exploration period and during which we will need to acquire the seismic data. Total will be funding 100 percent for the time being,” Terraz said at the PSC signing ceremony, which was held in Abuja.
Managed by the JDA, the JDZ represents an area along the maritime Nigeria-São Tomé and Principe border in the Atlantic Ocean and is speculated to be rich in oil and gas reserves.
The two West African countries sanctioned the zone in 2001 to manage petroleum and other natural resources that would otherwise go untapped, as neither country could explore the area without violating the other country’s maritime rights before the creation of the zone.
The move is a strategy by Ford towards energy self-sufficiency and responsible business practices.