By Martin Clark
Canadian junior Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas is advancing its Namibian projects nicely, after a year of progress in the field and in the boardroom. The company, which is listed on the TSX Venture market, holds four petroleum licenses in the south-west African country, three offshore in the Walvis Basin area, and another one covering both onshore and offshore territory. Collectively, that adds up to almost 50,000 sq km.
What it doesn’t have, however, is any actual production on its books.
And that’s where things might get tricky as the climate for investment turns sour on the back of falling oil prices. Still, it’s been a busy year for the aspiring company.
Most recently, Eco completed a 1,000 sq km 2D seismic sweep on the Guy block in the Walvis Basin, where it partners, Azimuth Namibia Limited and the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR). Processing work on that project is now underway.It follows additional seismic shoots on the nearby Cooper and Sharon blocks as well.
It’s all early days, but Eco’s chief operating officer Colin Kinley said the recent work on the Guy block is narrowing the search as to where to shoot 3D seismic. “Our confidence in establishing a resource is increasing as we progress the exploration,” he commented.
Arguably the biggest boost of all, however, came earlier in the year when Tullow Oil agreed to acquire up to a 40 per cent working interest in the Cooper block. Tullow is committed to a full carry of cost to drill an exploration well on the block if a suitable target is found.
That’s not imminent but it sets Eco up to participate in some near-ish term drilling, as it advances through its various seismic studies.But the scale of Eco’s task has got bigger after a recent pact with another fellow Namibian explorer, Pan African Oil Limited.
It has ended the year with a proposed amalgamation of local interests with Pan African, which operates two offshore licenses covering close to 13,000 sq km. In a December 19 statement, Eco said the deal “will strengthen Eco Atlantic’s position as the dominant license holder offshore Namibia, a region with the potential to deliver world-class petroleum discoveries.”
The amalgamation is also expected to result in cost savings and other efficiencies, it said.The resulting corporation will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eco Atlantic.
And it has given the company the confidence to look further afield too. Eco now has a slice of the action in Ghana on its plate, after taking an operating stake in the Deepwater Cape Three Points West Block, adjacent to Tullow’s mighty Jubilee field.
Kinley called it a “fantastic opportunity” for the company. It could well be, and it’s certainly a fashionable address right now to stake your claim. What matters most, however, will be flagging up the results from all the recent seismic work in Eco’s core territory, Namibia.
If we can get a better idea of what the potential is here, especially with the aid of any 3D seismic – and ultimately when we might get to see some drilling to turn all of this potential into actual resources and eventually production – then things really are moving in the right direction.