Mauritania is located on the northern Atlantic coast of West Africa between Morocco and Senegal. The country is largely arid and has a population of about 2.7 million. Mauritania gained independence from France in 1960 and now has a multi-party political system with an elected Presidency and two houses of parliament. The country presently has no oil and gas production, although it is one of the few countries in West Africa with refining capacity.
Until recently it was believed that there were no hydrocarbon resources in Mauritania. Hardman has interests in Production Sharing Contracts (“PSCs”) in eight offshore blocks in Mauritania (i.e. diagram showing summary of holdings), with the first PSC being signed in 1996. These blocks cover approximately 65,000 square kilometres, extend along 540 kilometres of coastline and include the majority of the prospective basin area, offshore Mauritania.
Two joint venture groups were established by Hardman. Blocks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 which cover the central, deep water salt basin were divided into Areas A, B and C under the terms of Farmin Agreements with Woodside Mauritania Pty Ltd (“Woodside”) and ENI-Agip (“Agip”), signed in 1998. Hardman also holds three PSCs over Blocks 1, 7 and 8 which straddle the Woodside joint venture areas. These PSCs are in joint venture with Dana Petroleum plc (“Dana”), an oil production company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
In February 2003 Hardman Resources announced following a detailed technical evaluation of 3D seismic and well data from the two highly successful Chinguetti appraisal wells drilled in 2002, that it had upgraded its recoverable oil reserve estimate for the Chinguetti Field in Mauritania.Hardman’s recoverable oil estimates for the Chinguetti Field were: P(90) estimate 95 million barrels P(50) estimate 125 million barrels P(10) estimate 200 million barrels Statistical Mean estimate of 142 million barrels (recoverable).
In December 2003 Dana Petroleum announced that the Pelican-1 exploration well, drilled in Block 7 offshore Mauritania, has discovered significant hydrocarbons within its primary, Tertiary age target horizon. The well was drilled to a total depth (TD) of 3,825 metres (11,659 feet) with oil and gas shows encountered while drilling from 3,400 metres to TD.
The industry is regulated by the Ministry of Water and Energy.
In 1998 Hardman Petroleum, in partnership with Dana Petroleum (operator), Woodside Petroleum and British Borneo Oil and Gas were awarded concessions offshore Mauritania. In June 2000, Dana Petroleum stated that they had identified a number of significant hydrocarbon leads in both shallow and deepwater prospects in blocks 1, 7 and 8. This is a Dana (80%), Hardman (18%) venture with a work programme that began in mid 2000 with a 4,000 to 5,000 kilometre 2D seismic survey. Elixir Corporation’s 2% is currently carried by Hardman, but their interest will transfer to any farm-in partners.
Mauritania’s downstream industry is significant to its economy. Consumption in 1997 was of the order of 1 million metric tons.
Government owned companies, SMCPP, SNIM and Sonelec, together with international companies Elf and Mobil carry out the distribution and marketing of fuels and lubricants. The distribution infrastructure consits of road and rail systems which are both in need of repair.
Crude oil is imported by Naftal, while refined petroleum products are imported by SNIM and Sonelec mainly from the refinery at Dakar. Mauritania has one refinery, the Somir Refinery located at Nouadhibou which runs on Algerian crude and is operated by an Algerian company. All products from the refinery are purchased and consumed within Mauritania.
Department of Minerals and Energy, Société Mauritanienne des Industries de Raffinage, SOMAGAZ :[ Add More ]
Block 1 – Mauritania, Block PSC – A – Mauritania, Block PSC B – Mauritania, Somir Refinery