Sierra Leone eyes offshore acreage awards date

Sierra Leone 4th Licensing Round has been slated early next year for submissions of interest from prospective investors that are interested in offshore acreage. According to Petroleum Directorate Director General Timothy Kabba at the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town.”There will be a brief three-month period of evaluation and it is hoped awards may emerge from mid-year. The country’s 402 kilometer long coastline offshore acreage is comprised of shallows and the ultra-deep blocks are all available for the awards. But direct tenders will apply where 50% or more of the acreage lies in water depths in excess of 2500 meters. “We didn’t want to have people just sitting on their blocks, so we conceived a flexible block framework across the entire basin,” he said “It’s important to appreciate the difficulties companies face to encourage exploration as more than 50% of our basin lies in the ultra-deep,” he said. Partial block submissions will be acceptable but the total acreage applied for must be contiguous and equivalent to a minimum of three demarcated blocks – for example, 4000 square kilometres, he said. “You can choose at least three and there is no maximum, though overlapping applications will be evaluated on there’s. “The bidding and awards process will enjoy public oversight as we are part if the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and successful applicants will have 30days to accept any proposed award so that we can proceed to ratification.” He clarifiedSierra Leone is expected to form part of the MSGBC (Mauritania,Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea Conakry) basin extending south from Mauritania, according to Getech a UK consultant which is advising on data management and presentation in the capital Freetown.

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