Thursday, January 26, 2023
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BusinessMinistry grants GPB additional exploration area

Ministry grants GPB additional exploration area

Suspends seismic survey for a year

The Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas has agreed to expand the oil exploration concession of GPB Global Resources, a Russian oil and gas company engaged in oil exploration project in the Afar Regional State.  

GPB Global Resources which acquired the Gewane-El Wiha block in the Afar Regional State from the Ministry in July 2014 has been conducting oil exploration work in its license area. The Russian company recently asked the ministry to extend its license area. After evaluating the proposal the Ministry granted the additional exploration area.

The company initially acquired 42,000 of exploration area.  Immediately, after securing the exploration license, GPB Global Resources hired a US company, Bell Geospace, that undertook airborne Full Tensor Gradiometry (FTG) and magnetic surveys in the Gewane-El Wiha Block in 2015. FTG and magnetic surveys enable companies to design seismic surveys and exploration well drillings.

After conducting FTG and magnetic surveys, GPB hired a Chinese company that specialized in seismic works, BGP Geo Services. BGP Geo Services has collected seismic data from the license area.

An official at GPB Global Resources told The Reporter that in a bid to scale up the oil exploration project, the company has asked the Ministry for additional 500 of land which the Ministry approved. However, the official said the company has decided to suspend the seismic survey for a year. “We have collected a comprehensive seismic data. We will interpret, analyze the data and we will resume the seismic survey after a year,” he said. Seismic survey enables an exploration company to learn the geological formation of the sedimentary basin and select drilling sites.

On July17, 2014 the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, and GPB Global Resources signed a petroleum production sharing agreement that enables the company to prospect for oil in the Gewane-El Wiha block, in the Afar Regional State. The exploration area is located in the Afar region in the north-eastern part of the country covering 42,000 of land.

GPB Global Resources is an international group of companies engaged in petroleum and mineral resources exploration projects in various parts of the country including Africa, South America and the Middle East. In Africa, the company is active in Eritrea, Mali, Ivory Cost, Niger and Mali.   

Officials of the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, are happy with GPB’s performance on the oil exploration project. “They are undertaking the exploration work according to schedule,” a senior official at the Ministry told The Reporter. “We are optimistic that GPB will fullfill all its commitments,” the official said.

The company has committed itself to undertake a seismic survey and drill at least two exploration wells in the initial exploration period.  According to the agreement, the company may invest up to 60 million dollars on the exploration project.  GPB Global Resources is an affiliate of Gazprom, the Russian gas giant.

Russians are not new to the Ethiopian oil and gas exploration industry. In the 1980s and the early 1990s, former USSR Company Soviet Petroleum Exploration Expedition (SPEE) was engaged in oil and gas exploration projects in the Ogaden basin. SPEE collected massive seismic data and drilled dozens of exploration wells in the Ogaden. 

Currently, Tullow Oil, Africa Oil, New Age, South West Energy, Delonex Energy Falcon Petroleum, Poly GCL and GPB Global Resources are the companies engaged in oil and gas exploration and development projects in Ethiopia.

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