Madagascar opens new round of offshore oil exploration licenses

Jun 24, 2004 02:00 AM

Malagasy authorities have opened up for a new round of licenses to explore possible oil or gas reserves in its offshore Morondava Basin. Madagascar is known to have oil and gas reserves, but these are inadequately mapped and there is no major production.
The Office des Mines Nationales et des Industries Strategiques in Madagascar (OMNIS) in co-operation with the Norwegian geophysical company TGS-Nopec announced the opening of a new license round over the Morondava Basin, offshore western Madagascar. The area will be under moratorium until the closing of the licensing round, TGS-Nopec said.
"OMNIS has scheduled the closing date for applications for mid-2005 and it is anticipated that licenses will be granted soon thereafter," the Norwegian company added.

In support of the license round, TGS-Nopec said it planned to acquire a 9,100 km multi-client 2D seismic, gravity and magnetic survey, subject to sufficient prefunding. The project was designed to infill the company's 2,158 km 2001 2D survey of the Morondava Basin and to examine deeper basins across the entire region.
The province is estimated to be among the most under-explored and promising hydrocarbon provinces worldwide, TGS-Nopec said, referring to the Morondava Basin.

Independent analysts agree that the great Indian Ocean island and its offshore regions are under-explored and promising. The existence of smaller oil and gas reserves has already been confirmed, but systematic mapping still is necessary before large-scale production can possibly start.
At present, no oil is produced in Madagascar. The large island only has a minor production of gas. This is despite of rather significant oil discoveries onshore.

The Antananarivo government and OMNIS have been keen to attract foreign oil companies to explore the island.
Economic liberalisation and favourable hydrocarbon legislation is to attract investments, but little has happened since OMNIS announced Madagascar's first formal licensing round in 1995.

Source: LiquidAfrica
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