Wildcat targets Sierra Leone

Wildcat Petroleum has signed a reconnaissance permit covering 20 blocks offshore Sierra Leone, covering 24,000 km2.

The company will analyze the geological and geophysical data of the region in order to select the most promising blocks. Wildcat said it would take into account recent discoveries in deep water, including in South America and Namibia.

The company aims to “achieve a deal that would transform [Wildcat] into a profitable, debt-free, dividend-paying oil company,” President Mandhir Singh said.

“The extent of the blocks covered by the agreement with Sierra Leone indicates [Wildcat’s] the ambition and the size of the assets it is trying to secure. Although the venture in Sierra Leone is an exploration project, the company’s top priority is to secure a stake in one or more producing assets with multi-billion barrel resources.

Wildcat previously laid out plans to launch a blockchain token tied to underground oil barrels. There was no mention of blockchain in his statement on Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone launched a direct negotiation process in April 2020. It closed this window on April 30 this year. The country will launch its 5th round of licensing at the Africa Energies Summit in London next week.

The 20 blocks of Wildcat are: 72, 73, 91, 92, 110, 111, 112, 128, 129, 132, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 162, 163 and 164. These are 16 whole blocks and four partial blocks: 149, 150, 163 and 164.

The permit is not exclusive and does not give Wildcat a right of first refusal. If the company finds a block that it believes has oil potential, it will enter into negotiations with the Sierra Leone Petroleum Authority (PDSL).

Missing billions

Wildcat’s license covers two non-commercial oil discoveries, Mercury and Jupiter, drilled by Anadarko Petroleum and Tullow Oil. Eight wells have been drilled, three of which are sub-commercial and three have hydrocarbon showings.

Given the lack of commercial discovery and the drop in oil prices, companies abandoned blocks. Subsequently, however, companies made major discoveries in the Guyana-Suriname Basin and the Venus and Graff discoveries in Namibia.

Wildcat noted the potential of the Cretaceous deep-water fan, where African Petroleum had estimated the blocks could hold 2.5 billion barrels.

Sierra Leone could offer Wildcat “an exciting and cost-effective way to access a share of billions of barrels of oil resources”, he said.

Lukoil drilled the most recent well offshore Sierra Leone, in 2013. It drilled the Savannah-1X well in 2,153 meters of water, finding around 3 meters of oil.

PDSL launched the 4th licensing round in 2018. It suspended the offer in 2019 before dropping it completely.

GeoPartners signed an agreement with PDSL in April to acquire new geophysical data. On the other side of the Atlantic, companies have discovered 15 billion barrels of oil or more.

“There should be similar volumes on hold in the eastern twin in Sierra Leone,” he said. GeoPartners aims to “help solve the mystery of where the missing billions of barrels are”.

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