Guinea-Bissau has several offshore areas that offer good prospects for a variety of independent exploration and production (E&P) companies, as well as international oil companies (IOCs) currently operating in several MSGBC basin countries, including Sweden's Svenska Petroleum, Norway's PetroNor E&P, and Australia-based FAR LTD, which also has operations in The Gambia and Senegal.
The majority of E&P activities are conducted in partnership with Petroguin EP, Guinea-Bissau's national oil and gas company, however, there is another particularly important player in Guinea's oil and gas sector - the Agency for Cooperation between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. (AGC).
The JMA is an entity that reports directly to the presidents of both countries on all developments in the oil and gas industry; and also has strong functional links with the relevant ministries - the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Senegal and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy in Guinea-Bissau.
The AGC is headquartered in Dakar, Senegal and is responsible for carrying out geological and geophysical studies, drilling and activities related to petroleum exploration and resources. Equally important, the JMA is responsible for assisting in the marketing and promotion of all oil and gas activities in Guinea Bissau. Finally, the JMA also plays an active role in ensuring that the exploitation of these natural resources is done in a sustainable manner that ensures the control and protection of the marine environment where these offshore blocks are located.
In addition to its important role in the development of regional cooperation in the oil and gas sector, the JMA also plays a role in two other highly strategic sectors for both countries, namely mining and fisheries. Guinea-Bissau is undoubtedly one of the richest African countries in natural resources. There are large deposits of bauxite and phosphates in the country.
Oil The exploitation of the AGC area started in 1958 with the Compagnie des Pétroles Total Afrique de l'Ouest (COPETAO) in Senegal and the EXXON Company in Guinea-Bissau. Initially, oil operations focused on the salt domes (Dôme Flore and Dôme Gea) characterized by structural traps. These operations led to the discovery of heavy oil deposits on Dome Flore in 1967 and on Dome Gea in 1971.
In 1991, Casamance Petroleum Ltd. obtained the hydrocarbon exploration permit known as the Dome Flore Permit and acquired a 3D seismic dataset (300 km2), on the Dome Flore and Dome Gea. This permit expired in 1994 and the area was then reallocated to the Pecten company, which drilled a shallow exploration well called "Boabab-1" on the eastern flank of Dome Gea in 1996. This well encountered traces of oil. From 1997 to 1999, the JMA undertook seismic studies followed by an extensive campaign to develop the deep offshore blocks of the Joint Area in which the JMA facilitates cooperation between Senegal and Guinea Bissau.
As a result of this promotion campaign, two hydrocarbon exploration permits (Cheval Marin Permit and Southern Cross Permit) were awarded in deepwater areas to AGIP - a subsidiary of the oil multinational Eni - and to Fusion Oil & Gas NL, respectively, in the first instance. Both companies have subsequently carried out extensive 2D and 3D seismic, magnetic, gravity, geochemical and geological surveys in their respective permits. AGC currently has partnerships with a number of oil and gas companies, including Petroguin E&P, Oryx Petroleum, CNOOC/NEXEN, Tender Oil & Gas SARL and Best Petroleum, among others. A future auction round could attract even more players to the offshore blocks managed by the JMA.
FUTURE AUCTION ROUNDS
Today, following the various large-scale discoveries that have taken place in Senegal's offshore waters (SNE, SAGOMAR) and on the border with Mauritania (GTA) from 2014 to 2017, there has been renewed interest throughout the region to develop the hydrocarbon potential of the MSGBC Basin, which is still largely under-explored. The offshore blocks that the GTA is tasked with managing and promoting for future bidding currently have a number of mid-sized E&P companies analyzing the seismic data obtained and prospecting for oil and gas, but Guinea-Bissau and its partners in Senegal are interested in attracting new investors, and potentially partnering with IOC to potentially help fund a more aggressive exploration and drilling campaign.