GUINEA BISSAU – PetroNor, an E&P independent oil and gas exploration and production company, has struck a deal to acquire Svenska Petroleum’s assets in Guinea Bissau. The company also intends to launch a drilling program on all of its assets in approximately 2 years.

The Norwegian company said it was acquiring SPE Guinea Bissau and as a result, PetroNor will become the operator of the Sinapa and Esperanca licences, with a 78.57% stake. Sinapa covers Block 2, while Esperanca covers Blocks 4A and 5A.

PetroNor said the Guinea Bissau government had extended the licence for three years, until October 2023. The transfer is subject to government approval.

“We’ve been very impressed by the technical work done by Svenska and FAR. There’s high potential and strong similarities to the Sangomar field in Senegal,” PetroNor’s exploration director Michael Barrett said.

The area is one that is due to see some potentially transformative exploration drilling in the new future.

“We’re looking forward to offset drilling by BP at Block A1 in The Gambia and in A2 by FAR. Impact Oil and Gas and CNOOC International may be drilling in AGC Profond [between Senegal and Guinea Bissau]. This is an exploration hot spot. There’s a lot of upcoming interest,” added Barret.

This interest paves the way for some form of rig sharing agreement, which would bring costs down.

Oil has been discovered in the shallower waters of Guinea Bissau, proving the source rock and migration, PetroNor’s CEO Knut Sovold said. Going into the deeper waters should provide scope for larger finds, with Barrett saying the prospect was materially above the economic threshold.

Under the licence extension, PetroNor has committed to drilling one well on the Sinapa and one on the Esperanca licences. The company plans to drill Sinapa first and then integrate information from that with plans for the second license. Svenska worked on plans for the Atum-1x well, which is in 607 metres of water.

As a next step, the government must first approve PetroNor’s entry to the block. Following this, the company will likely work on a strategic farm-out.

The Guinea Bissau move fits well within PetroNor’s portfolio, Sovold continued.

“We’re a small E&P company with growth ambitions. That comes from organic growth in Congo Brazzaville, development in Nigeria and longer-term exploration in the [MSGBC] licenses. We want to have a large portfolio with multiple opportunities, rather than just a large interest in a single asset,” said Barret.

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