Africa Oil Announces Farmouts in the Rift Basin Area and Adigala Blocks in Ethiopia
Africa Oil Corp. (TSX VENTURE:AOI)(OMX:AOI) (“Africa Oil” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has received Ethiopian government approval in respect of two farmout agreements:
Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) (“Marathon Oil”), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Marathon Ethiopia Limited B.V., will acquire a 50% interest in the Rift Basin Area;
New Age Ethiopia Limited (“New Age”) will acquire a 40% interest in the Adigala Block.
Under the terms of the Marathon Oil farmout agreement, Marathon Oil will acquire a 50% interest in the Rift Basin Area in Ethiopia. Africa Oil will maintain operatorship of the block, but Marathon Oil has the right to assume operatorship if a commercial discovery is made. In consideration for the assignment of this interest, Marathon Oil will pay Africa Oil an entry payment of $3 million in respect of past costs, and has agreed to fund $15 million of Africa Oil’s working interest share of joint venture expenditures in the Rift Basin Area. Africa Oil and Marathon Oil are pleased to complete the final tranche of the farmout transaction originally announced in July 2012 (press release dated July 23, 2012). Completion of this transaction is anticipated in March 2014. Following completion, Africa Oil and Marathon Oil will each hold a 50% working interest in the Rift Basin Area.
The Rift Basin Area covers 42,519 square kilometres and is on trend and extending to the northeast of the highly prospective blocks in the Tertiary rift valley including the South Omo Block, and Kenyan Blocks 10BA, 10BB, 13T, and 12A. A 1,200 kilometre 2D seismic survey is anticipated to be acquired during the second half of 2014.
Under the terms of the New Age farmout agreement, New Age will acquire an additional 40% working interest in the Adigala Block, in Ethiopia. Following completion, Africa Oil’s interest will be reduced to 10%. In consideration of the assignment New Age will carry Africa Oil’s working interest share of a planned 1,000 kilometre 2D seismic work program in the Adigala Block. Completion of this transaction is anticipated in March 2014.
Keith Hill, Africa Oil’s President and CEO, stated, “We are very pleased to receive government approval to complete these farmout transactions as we continue to actively manage our highly prospective East African acreage portfolio. We look forward to continuing to work with Marathon Oil as a partner given their stature and long history of success in the oil and gas business. We have a very exciting exploration and appraisal program set out for 2014 which will see us complete over 20 wells. Currently we have seven rigs running and after releasing one in mid-year will have at least six rigs running full time through the remainder of the year. Our program has three objectives, to appraise the existing key discoveries, to drill out the remaining prospects in the South Lokichar basin and to open at least one of the four new basins being tested along trend. Additionally, we are pushing hard to move the development studies along with the aim of sanctioning a pipeline development for the South Lokichar basin by the end of 2015 or early 2016. This fully funded program should continue to deliver high potential upside value for shareholders through this year and beyond.”