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As plans for Sierra Leone gain momentum African Petroleum rig arrives offshore Liberia

As plans for Sierra Leone gain momentum African Petroleum rig arrives offshore Liberia

African Petroleum announced today that its first exploration well in Liberia has commenced drilling the Apalis Prospect during the week of August 8, 2011 with the Maersk Deliverer semi-submersible deep water rig.

The Maersk Deliverer according to a release from African Petroleum in Monrovia is the third in a series of state-of-the-art rigs, capable of drilling in water depths of up to 3,000 meters.

The rig has completed operations in AGC profound for Ophir and arrived in Liberia on August 7, 2011. The company has a 100% interest in Blocks LB-08 and LB-09. The Apalis Prospect will be drilled in Block LB-9, to a total depth of 4000m.

The management of African Petroleum acknowledged the cooperation received from NOCAL and all other Liberians stakeholders involved in the development of Liberia’s petroleum sector, and wishes to assure that the drilling operations will be carried out in accordance with best industry standards and practices.

African Petroleum recently announced plans to drill in the deep offshore waters of Liberia, nearest the coastal boundaries of Sinoe and Rivercess. The geologists in African Petroleum are very excited by the possibility of finding oil and have finalized plans with the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) which started drilling in March 2011.

It has been more than 30 years since oil companies searched for oil in this region, but the recent discovery of a major oil field in the deep waters offshore Ghana, and the discovery of oil offshore in nearby Sierra Leone, has encouraged the geologists in African Petroleum to look closely at the possibility of finding oil in Liberia.

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Working jointly with NOCAL, the African Petroleum exploration team believes that they have identified the same type of oil bearing rocks found in neighboring Sierra Leone following the 3D seismic programme on its offshore Blocks 8 & 9. African Petroleum has completed very detailed and extensive seismic surveys costing US $25 million to study the potential of the rocks beneath the deep waters offshore Liberia.

The results are so encouraging that plans are being finalized to bring a large floating drilling rig to the area to drill two wells more than 30 miles off the coast. These wells will cost African Petroleum more than US $100 million and will be the first wells ever drilled in the deeper waters off the Liberian coast. The African Petroleum team based in Monrovia is working hard to prepare for the arrival of the drilling rig and is in discussions with NOCAL as well as other government ministries to co-ordinate their plans.

The complexity of this project demands planning, review and agreement with NOCAL and government ministries to ensure that the highest standards of safety are maintained for everyone involved, and also ensure the protection of the environment. African Petroleum’s drilling team has managed the drilling of offshore exploration wells for more than 10 years, with a first class track record for safety and protecting the environment.

African Petroleum through its subsidiary European Hydrocarbons has been preparing to explore for oil in Liberia for a number of years.

The company’s Chairman Mr. Frank Timis and Chief Operating Officer Mr. Karl Thompson, a former geologist with Chevron agree that the promising geology, in addition to the encouragement and support from NOCAL, have made the planned initial investment of more than US $130 million in Liberia a great opportunity for their company. However, overall investment would exceed over 2.5 billion. They are working to ensure that African Petroleum is at the forefront of this new and exciting opportunity. The discovery of oil in Liberia, and the development of supportive industries will create wealth for the country and thousands of jobs for Liberians.

In addition to their investments in oil and gas exploration, African Petroleum and NOCAL are committed to providing annual social welfare and training funding. Doing so, allows for local communities to benefit from petroleum operations in the short run. It also demonstrates their support for the development efforts pursued by the Government of Liberia.

To ensure knowledge transfer within the industry, African Petroleum and NOCAL over the years have made annual contributions to the University of Liberia. Together, the two companies sponsored a 10-day seminar on Seismic Interpretation for 60 students of the Department of Geology at the University of Liberia, this past July.

The course was designed for students to interactively learn the fundamentals of offshore seismic data acquisition and processing, design structural maps from 2D seismic data; and make seismostratigraphic interpretations to evaluate the presence of reservoirs and seals offshore Liberia.

Senior representatives from African Petroleum and NOCAL, along with senior staff from the University of Liberia were also present to discuss the potential and opportunities within the offshore oil and gas industry. This training is part of a larger strategy to invest in human capital and make sure that Liberians gain the technical capacity to manage the emerging industry.

Poised to become one of the largest net acreage holders along the coast of West Africa, African Petroleum works closely with national partners like NOCAL to deliver safe, highly technical and well financed oil and gas projects.

Meanwhile, the award of Block SL-03 to African Petroleum was ratified by the Sierra Leone Parliament in February 2011. SL-03 is a 3,135 sq km area located offshore Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone Licence Block). It is situated approximately 150km from Anadarko’s recent Mercury-1 discovery at Block SL-07B-10 and 85 km from the 2009 Venus discovery, both offshore Sierra Leone.

African Petroleum is actively exploring for the Cretaceous-age fan systems in SL-03, similar to those found in Venus and Mercury, and has identified a number of promising Cretaceous fan leads on the 2D seismic data. An extensive 3D seismic survey is planned for the Sierra Leone Licence Block to firm up potential exploration prospects, similar to the Mercury and Venus discoveries nearby.

by Global News Network, Liberia

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