Petronas to explore oil field prospects in Sao Tome

Jan 11, 2004 01:00 AM

Petronas Carigali plans to participate in the oil and gas exploration activities in Sao Tome and Principe this year. Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) chairman Tan Sri Azizan Zainul Abidin said the company was currently studying the prospect of developing oil fields in the African country and updating information on the oil reserves.
"There is prospect there but we want to know in greater detail of the oil reserves at (the target area) the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),’’ he said after meeting with Sao Tome and Principe president Fradique De Menezes in Putrajaya. He added that Sao Tome was currently developing the oil reserves at the Joint Development Zone in Sao Tome with Nigeria.

Azizan said Petronas was invited to participate in Sao Tome oil and gas projects in April last year and it sent officials to visit the country in the middle of last year.
"At today’s meeting, both parties agreed to the exchange of information; they will inform us on the progress of the project and we will continueour study on the oil reserves,’’ he said. Petronas has operations in Equatorial Guinea, a neighbouring country, and the project will be monitored by its officials based there.

Azizan said Petronas was currently studying the requirements of Sao Tome’s authorities.
"If all goes well, we will be bidding for the project," he said.
De Menezes said Sao Tome would embark on developing the EEZ this year and planned to invite Petronas to participate in the bid.
"If it is successful, it will probably be the first joint cooperation between Sao Tome and Malaysia," he said. He said Sao Tome had also invited oil and gas players from other countries, including the United States, Angola and Portugal to jointly develop its oil reserve.

Meanwhile, a report said Sao Tome, a country with a population of 175,883, recently stumbled on petroleum in its territorial waters in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea. De Menezes said the oil business was expected to generate $ 6 bn to $ 11 bn income with its recent collaboration with Nigeria on a joint licence to produce oil.
"We want to use the oil money to concentrate on the agriculture sector as we are a monoculture country with our cocoa production," he said.

De Menezes, who also visited the Malaysian Palm Oil Board earlier, said Sao Tome was seeking Malaysia’s expertise to develop value-added palm oil-based products. His country currently has 300 ha of oil palm land and produces palm oil only for domestic food products.
De Menezes and his 16-member delegation arrived in Kuala Lumpur for a three-day working visit.

Source: Star Publications (Malaysia)
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