In 1998, South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO), a company owned by General Theophilus Danjuma was awarded OPL 246 about 150km south of Port Harcourt and in conjunction with its partners – TOTAL of France and PETROBRAS of Brazil, discovered the giant Akpo field in the year 2000, one of Nigeria’s highest potential deep offshore fields. Located about 100 miles off the coast of Port Harcourt, Akpo is estimated to have condensate reserves of over 600 million barrels and commercial natural gas reserves of 2.5 trillion cubic feet. Part of the block was converted to OML 130 and subsequent field discoveries include Egina, Egina South and Preowei. The partners, led by Total, are in the process of developing the other fields.
In 2006, SAPETRO divested part of its interest to CNOOC of China, with CNOOC agreeing to pay SAPETRO for a 45 per cent stake of OML 130. CNOOC is currently operator of the block and the deal is said to be one of the largest to date by the CNOOC, which is targeting African oil producers like Nigeria in its drive to secure overseas reserves. Initial production from the field started in 2009 with peak production levels expected to reach about 250,000 bpd in due course.
SAPETRO has also expanded its operations beyond the shores of Nigeria, first to the neighbouring Republic of Benin where the company successfully bid for the offshore Block 1 in 2004, which it operates and owns 100% and which is expected to produce its first output from the redeveloped Seme field in due course. In addition, the company has acquired ROC Oil Company Limited’s 75% participating interest in Juan de Nova Maritime Profond exclusive exploration permit, deep offshore in the Mozambique Channel and has also reached an agreement with Marex MC Inc. (MAREX) to purchase a 90% participating interest in the Belo Profond Production Sharing Contract (PSC), which is situated in deep water offshore Madagascar, also in the Mozambique Channel.
The Belo Profond block, which covers an area of 13,770 km2 is in water depths of 1800m to 3,000m and is adjacent to the Juan de Nova Permit. This large block contains a significant portion of a new deep water exploration province adjacent to ENI and Anadarko’s recent major gas discoveries in East Africa.
From Nigeria to Benin, and then Mozambique Channel (France) and Madagascar, SAPETRO’s robust portfolio strategy in Africa is highlighted and further reflects its commitment to establishing a presence as one of the foremost Nigerian grown independents on the continent through its focused exploration activities.