Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chinese Lusa Story: All Is Go

A version of the story from the Portuguese news agency Lusa opicked up by Xinhua.net, the Chinese national news agency, repeats what we were told late yesterday afternoon: all signs are go for the signing of Blocks 3 and 4 in the Nigeria-Sao Tom,e and Principe Joint Development Zone.

A note: The story makes the same mistake Lusa made in saying that ERHC Energy is the operator of Block 3. It is not. We have a 30 percent miniority interest shared with Addax, our Swiss partner, and the block is operated by Anadarko Petroleum.

Sao Tome and Principe contracts for 2 oil blocs

www.chinaview.cn 2006-03-14 02:57:52

LUANDA, March 13 (Xinhuanet) -- A ministerial delegation from Sao Tome and Principe departed Monday for Nigeria to sign production sharing contracts for two offshore oil blocks in the joint Gulf of Guinea exploration area operated with Abuja, the archipelago's oil minister said.

According to reports reaching here, speaking before flying to Abuja, Natural Resources Minister Deolindo da Costa said that among business on the agenda at Tuesday's meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) in Abuja was the signing of production sharing contracts (PSCs) for Blocks 3 and 4 in the two countries' Joint Development Zone (JDZ).

If the Abuja meeting is fruitful, Blocks 3 and 4, with signature bonuses of 40 million US dollars and 90 million US dollars respectively, will become the first of five JDZ blocs awarded last May to be formally wrapped up.

The two blocks are operated by ERHC, a Nigerian-controlled, US-listed company, and Addax of Switzerland. ERHC won preferential interests in all five JDZ blocks awarded last year.

An earlier attempt to sign PSCs for Block 4 last month was thwarted when Sao Tome's delegation left Abuja without signing the documents.

Nigeria charged Sao Tome and Principe with bad faith and called for a public apology for the scuppering of the deal. Sao Tome denied responsibility for the flop, blaming Abuja for trying to force it to ink contracts that had been altered to give a small Nigerian firm 9 percent of ERHC's stake in the block.

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