Monrovia, Liberia | – The West Africa-focused oil and gas exploration company African Petroleum announced on Wednesday that it would leave Liberia after failing to extend its production sharing contracts for offshore blocks LB-08 and LB-09.
The news came just as ExxonMobil announced it had spudded the long-anticipated Mesurado-1 exploration well off the coast of the country, whose drilling had been delayed in 2014 due to the Ebola outbreak in the country.
African Petroleum’s contracts expired in June and it had been seeking to extend them while simultaneously looking for partners to develop them, the company said in a press release. The failure to reach an agreement with the Liberian government “reduces the Company’s recognised prospective resources to 7.4 billion net unrisked mean prospective oil resources,” it added.
Aside from Liberia, African Petroleum has stakes in eight offshore licences in four different West African countries: Senegal, The Gambia, Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone. Earlier this year, it launched a partnership with Ophir Energy in Côte d’Ivoire.
“African Petroleum has been active in Liberia for some time and has played a major role in helping to progress the industry in the country through the successful drilling of three exploration wells, including the non-commercial discovery at Narina-1,” said in the statement CEO Jens Pace.
“It is therefore disappointing to be exiting the country; however, our near term focus and resources must go towards the other more exciting assets within our portfolio that are generating the most industry interest and lie within proven hydrocarbon systems adjacent to world class commercial discoveries.”