As the conflict in the Cameroons deepens with a sharp increase in civilian casualties, the security scare doesn’t exempt the oil companies. It has led to the sharp drop of interest in acquiring drilling licenses for exploitation in Southern Cameroons.
Eight sites of crude terrain have been put up for bid by the CGG GeoConsulting and its affiliate Robertson, six of which are offshore acreages and the remaining two are onshore zones, ready to be drilled for oil.
Firms that were deemed worthy to be granted the lease were to be notified of their status before July 18 but BaretaNews has gotten official confirmation only one of them met with the financial and technical compliance level to proceed.
Thus far, just three firms have shown interest, with everyone of them submitting the bidding application prior to the June 29 deadline for three separate licences. Their targets were mostly the offshore acreages surrounding the Rio del Rey, Douala and Kribi-Campo basins. All of which are areas far from the conflict hot spots and closer to the territory of La Republique du Cameroun.
It’s reported the LRC-run hydrocarbons company, SNH is in negotiation talks with two other applicants but their standing are yet to be determined. No official announcement has been made by the state-player, Energy minister or bidding organizers and no deadline set.
It’s highly likely just one onshore zone was leased out. the Kombe-Nsepe zone, situated east of Douala. The Bakassi peninsula and its surrounding shallows enclaving the border with Nigeria, situated in the Southern Zone are prone to civil war which has befallen the Southern Cameroons and continue to further escalate. And thus in this area, drilling is difficult.
For the same security concerns, the prospective Mamfe basin, situated in the Manyu county and the Ndian River zone were not formally put up in the original bidding list as a result of security concerns.
Oil company New Age and its partners Lukoil and Bowleven plan locating a liquefied natural gas facility off Victoria, to be built by SBM Offshore, in close collaboration with JGC of Japan which is expected to hold some 1.4 million tonnes of natural gas annually to go operation by 2022, have been warned by Restoration Forces to cease all their operations.
BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst