Seychelles to invite oil firm bids soon


The chief executive of PetroSeychelles, Eddy Belle, said this in an interview with Nation yesterday, noting that after promising oil and gas discoveries in eastern Africa, the Seychelles’ potential became more attractive prompting us to go back to the drawing board for better gains if we find oil.

“Because of the activities that were going on in East Africa – the government wanted to modernise certain aspects of the model agreement and sought the assistance of a number of organisations; the International Monetary Fund was one of them, there were was also the World Bank and the Commonwealth secretariat – which has been assisting us for many years, and partners like the US government which also provided assistance by showing us what they have done in terms of regulator in the US  and if there are lessons we can learn, then we should do so,” he said.

“We will not have a licensing round per se. The way we will do it is; after April 2013, oil companies can come in at any time and provide a proposal for an area. This specific area will be made known to the rest of the industry and if there are any other companies that are also keen or interested in that particular area, they will have three months or 90 days to submit their own proposal.

“After 90 days, if there are proposals that have come in, we shall open them and find out who has provided the best for Seychelles and that company will be selected,” said Mr Belle.

“We are talking about companies which will have to start with exploration and if they are successful they will move on to exploitation.
“Before awarding any agreement to any oil company, we will have to do the due diligence. The company that has submitted the proposal must show it is financially capable to carry out an exploration programme and eventually a development programme.”

He said the companies must also show they have the technical capability to carry out an exploration programme.
“After April they can submit their proposals. We shall advertise internationally, on our website and also in local and international newspapers showing the area the company has submitted a proposal.”

He said Australia-based WHL Energy is still looking for a partner and they have a drilling commitment,  meaning they have plans to drill.
“Afren has just completed their 3-D survey which they started in December, covering 3,350 square kilometres and they will now be processing the data they got and identifying the best drilling location.

“Afren and WHL Energy are at the moment the only companies carrying out exploration. Many firms have approached us but they will have to wait until after April to submit their proposals. By then we will have put in place the few pieces of legislation required to modernise our model petroleum agreement and the new fiscal regime,” he said.

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