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Seychelles enters start of significant new 3D seismic program in its oil exploration

Seychelles enters start of significant new 3D seismic program in its oil exploration ( Afren East African Exploration (EAX), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Afren plc (Afren) announced that it has commenced a major 3D seismic program in the Seychelles, the first 3D survey to be conducted in the country.

The program will consist of two surveys in Afren’s license areas that extend over a combined area of approximately 14,319 km² of the Seychelles micro-continent. The areas are located in shallow to deep water in the western part of the Seychelles Plateau. A number of attractive prospects have been identified during the interpretation of 3,733 km of 2D seismic data which were acquired in 2011/2012. The 2011/2012 2D survey was designed to better reveal the areas’ true prospectivity, following the earlier identification of several large scale structures.

The first 3D survey will be conducted in the southern portion of the license over the Bonit prospect and this will cover 600 km². The second survey will be in the northern section of the license area and will cover an area of 2,750 km². In this area, significant prospectivity exists in both Cretaceous and Jurassic intervals.

Gross un-risked prospective resources for the two areas are estimated at 2,800 mmboe. EAX operates the blocks with a 75% interest and is partnered with Avana Petroleum which holds a 25% interest.

Award of Contract
Afren and its partner awarded the seismic contract to Polarcus, the global marine geophysical company, who will use the newly-commissioned Polarcus Adira vessel.

The commencement of the program will be marked with a ceremony today in Victoria, Seychelles, at which EAX and PetroSeychelles will host a number of government officials and local dignitaries.

Galib Virani, Director of Afren EAX, commented: “The commencement of this 3D seismic program is not only a first for the Seychelles but is also a major step toward proving the commercial viability of the country’s considerable oil and gas resource potential.
“We look forward to a long and mutually-beneficial partnership with the government and people of Seychelles as we work to expand the data that has been collected to date. The 3D program is an important component to reducing the risk and maximizing the chances of exploration drilling success and forms an exciting part of Afren EAX’s broader high impact exploration program across the East Africa region.”

Eddy Belle, Chief Executive of Petro Seychelles Ltd., said: “The decision by Afren and Avana Petroleum to conduct the 3D seismic survey of some 3350 km² in their license areas has been welcomed by both the government of Seychelles and PetroSeychelles. The large structures mapped from the processed 2D seismic survey are located over 100 km west and northwest of the main island of Mahe. The 3D survey will identify the most optimal structures to be drilled.

“This 3D survey is timely, as Seychelles has recently completed an exercise to modernize its petroleum legislations and revised its fiscal regime in preparation for road shows to meet oil companies in early 2013. There has been renewed interest by other oil companies to prospect in Seychelles, and we expect to start receiving offers from them as of early May 2013.

“The government of Seychelles and PetroSeychelles have enjoyed a very good working relationship with Afren since it took over the interest of EAX Ltd. We are confident that Afren will remain committed, and we anticipate a commercial discovery in the not too distant future. Such discovery will not only provide energy security for the country, but will also enable Seychelles to achieve its economic objectives.”

For further information, contact: Pelham Bell Pottinger (+44 20 7861 3232) - James Henderson, Mark Antelme.


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