Oil exploration in Seychelles-Drilling set to start end of next year


VP Faure said Seychelles currently has agreements with two oil companies to carry out oil explorations here. 

Afren, a London-based oil and natural gas exploration company, is in the process of collecting and gathering all the necessary data and is moving forward with the drilling scheduled for the last quarter of next year.

Meanwhile, Mr Faure explained that the other company – Australian energy company WHL Energy Limited, which is in principle in the second phase of exploration and should start drilling in the first quarter of next year -- is encountering some constraints and has informed Petro Seychelles.

According to information the government has received, representatives of the company are expected in the country in the coming two weeks to explain its position to the government.
Minister Faure gave these details while answering a question by elected member for Grand Anse Mahé Lenny Lebon.
He had asked VP Faure for an update on the oil exploration activities.

Asked if there are any other oil companies which have been expressing interest in oil exploration here and if there are any countries which have offered Seychelles help in the oil exploration process, VP Faure explained that once government signs an agreement with a company this proves that it has all indications that the company has agreed to carry out the work as per their agreement.

Mr Faure explained that having a licence does not mean having an agreement and there are many companies with interests in East Africa which have approached Petro Seychelles and have expressed their interest in oil exploration here.

He said there are also governments which are currently in talks with the Seychelles authorities, adding that the Japanese government has been showing a keen interest in taking part and bringing along its expertise in the process.

With regard to government’s transparency in providing timely and updated information to the public on the ongoing process relating to any oil exploration, Mr Faure explained that the government’s position on the issue is clear.

“In line with that, the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment through its negotiations with the World Bank recently issued a declaration stating that Seychelles is ready to follow all transparency regulations if ever oil is discovered here,” added VP Faure.

In another question, Mr Lebon asked Mr Faure about the government’s plans in the event that oil is discovered here.
Mr Faure said the government has for the past years been fine-tuning its plan and is aware of its weaknesses and is working with different organisations so as to avoid mistakes committed by countries where oil has been discovered.

“Oil discovery can be a blessing as well as a curse for a country and our plan is centred on making a possible discovery a blessing for our country. In order to make that happen we need a ‘robust plan’ and this is why Petro Seychelles has developed good relations with the Commonwealth secretariat to work on our relating laws and regulations as well as supporting institutions to ensure that the plan is a strong one,” added VP Faure.

He also said Seychelles has learned a lot from the Norwegian government through its sovereign fund which is a model being followed by many countries especially on the aspect of environment protection.

Furthermore, Mr Faure noted that the finance ministry and its partners such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are also providing support to upgrade and review the Seychelles Revenue Commission in preparation to manage oil revenues.

“A special trust to manage oil revenues will be set for that purpose to ensure a better future for Seychelles and its people,” Mr Faure explained. 

Meanwhile, VP Faure informed the Assembly that work is ongoing to review the laws and regulations to bring  them up to date so they could meet the demands of the ongoing process in preparation for future oil explorations here while  amendments to other regulations will be considered if the need arises in the future .