Aussies attempt to resurrect African adventure

JUNIOR oil and gas explorer Agri Energy has completed its evolution into new entity Sirocco Energy through its recent entry into an onshore Sudanese oil play.
The company reportedly plans to raise more than $4 million to fund the initial exploration of 100,000 square kilometres of remote, uninhabited land in north-western Sudan known as Block 14.
Originally focussed on developing Syrian oil and gas fields, Agri Energy was forced to cut its losses and leave its operations in the troubled country after civil war broke out. Following a restructuring effort and subsequent rebranding as Sirocco Energy, the Perth-based company has joined the growing list of oil companies trying their luck in Sudan’s volatile, war torn environment. With a rapidly growing economy, the potential from highly prospective oil and gas fields has seen foreign investment in Sudan skyrocket.
Sirocco managing director Greg Channon said he believed resolution of recent conflict in the region had created a unique opportunity for proactive companies.
“Our asset, known as Block 14 is highly prospective and under explored and is large enough to contain most of the productive areas of the Cooper Basin,” he said.
“We have secured a 37.4 per cent interest in the block and have an early mover advantage following the peaceful separation of northern and southern Sudan.
“Sudan is changing, similar to Burma where trade sanctions have been lifted by the United States and the economy opened up.
“We see this as an opportunity for investors to be leveraged early for similar growth in Sudan over the coming years.”
Block 14 has been the subject of intermittent exploration since the 1950s, with companies including Shell, Petronas and Conoco conducting surveys and tests in the area but never progressing to drilling.
Mr Channon said geological consultancy Senergy had estimated Block 14 to contain 1.5 billion barrels of prospective resources.
“Senergy have recognised that the block is frontier, yet potentially high reward,” he said.
“Senergy have also outlined a de-risking process which has the potential to significantly increase the value of the block over the next 12 to 18 months. “Resolution of recent political differences and increasing stability in the region presents opportunity in Sudan and this is why we are excited about being one of the first movers into this exciting new potential oil province.”
Mr Channon said he was optimistic about Sirocco’s foray into Block 14, given recent success at neighbouring tenements.
“The region surrounding Block 14 is currently experiencing a high level of exploration activity; for example just south, Al Qahtani have drilled an exploration well and encountered hydrocarbon shows,” he said.
“Immediately to the north in Egypt, Petroceltic International and its partners Beach Energy Limited, Hellenic Petroleum SA and Kufpec, are currently drilling an exploration well in the El Mesaha block and this activity, plus the current licensing rounds in Sudan and neighbouring Chad, will provide new information and data to assist in unlocking the value of Block 14.”
Sirocco reported that early testing would begin at Block 14 in early 2013, with development of an exploration well planned for December.

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