“Oil and gas exploration in the Red Sea still goes ahead” Red Sea Oil & Gas 2015 Summit, 23rd-24th February, Dubai

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Global Summit organizer IRN held the worldwide inaugural meeting, Red Sea Oil & Gas 2015 Summit at the Meydan Hotel in Dubai on 23rd-24th February, which was fully endorsed by the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources of Jordan, Ministry of Energy & Mines of Eritrea and Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources of Somalia.

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Chaired by the General Manager of the General Petroleum Company of Egypt (GPC), Dr. Tarek Hamed, the first day of the Summit began with Ganope’s (Ganoub El-Wadi Petroleum Holding Company) Chairman, Abubakr Ibrahim, presenting the company’s Red Sea and Upper Egypt future plans. Being one of the five entities of the Petroleum Ministry of Egypt, GANOPE just extended the deadline for the 2014 International Bid Round for two additional months to the end of May, with 6 out of the 10 blocks on offer located at Egypt’s Red Sea region. Abubakr Ibrahim gave a thorough overview of the geology and the potential for each one of the offered blocks and revealed that long-term, the company plans to issue multi-client projects.

Dr. Tarek Hamed gave an insightful presentation on the Red Sea exploration and discoveries in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Eritrea, explaining the petroleum system and offering delegates a review of the discovery potential in each area, based on the geology of the grounds.

Given that Eritrea is one of the most underexplored countries in the world, the Head of Energy & Hydrocarbons of the Ministry of Energy & Mines of Eritrea, Teklehamanot Debretsion, presented conclusive evidence for the existence of a hydrocarbon generating system in Eritrea’s Red Sea. This part of Red Sea has attracted interest from 1920’s when Agip started drilling a few shallow wells, following which, a number of undeveloped discoveries have been made in consequent years. There is a wide range of seismic data available for Eritrea’s Red Sea and with the stability of the political environment in recent years, renewed oil investment is underway. The Government has prioritised the petroleum sector as part of the country’s economic development, revising two laws and giving additional incentives to oil companies with the royalty tax being negotiable as part of every contract with a sliding scale of daily production.

Oyster Oil & Gas Limited was the first oil company to operate under the new petroleum system in Djibouti, and their Vice President, Colin Wilson, shed light to the question of whether Djibouti is a considerable oil and gas player in the Red Sea. Oyster operates four blocks in Djibouti and one in Madagascar. Colin Wilson stated that the company’s assets in Djibouti are described as ones with high potential, as their blocks are located between two successful hydrocarbon rift plays and the northern extension of their offshore blocks has been producing oil and gas for 50 years. The company has managed to reduce the exploration risk and therefore will be able to soon start drilling.

When it comes to Somalia which is an established oil producer amongst the countries of the Red Sea, the Government recently adopted a production sharing agreement to facilitate investments, showing the political stability in the country despite the recent Government change. As part of the East African Indian Ocean Margin, which became an oil and gas hotspot in the past decade, Somalia’s hydrocarbon potential is of great interest to the oil industry and Dr Hussein Ali Ahmed, Petroleum Management Director within the Ministry of Petroleum in Somalia, presented the facts. Dr Ali Abdullahi, CEO of Amsas Consulting followed his presentation, giving an overview of the opportunities and challenges in Somalia’s E&P.

The second day of the Summit was chaired by Marek Al Refai, General Director of Al Hakmah Management Consultancies, and opened with a presentation led by the Director of Petroleum within the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources of Jordan, Hazem Al Ramini, who presented on the current developments and opportunities within the shale oil and gas sector in Jordan. Jamal M Ali, General Manager of Al Janoub for Oil Shale in Jordan followed with his presentation, sharing the methods and processes used for unconventional E&P by their company with delegates.

The Head of Petroleum Operations at Yemen’s Oil & Gas Corporation, Ibrahim Al Kadhi, then gave an overview of the hydrocarbon potential in the country, highlighting that there are 69 available blocks currently open for licensing.

Other highlights of the two-day agenda included a panel discussion on how the Governments’ plan to facilitate investments in the Red Sea countries, and sessions on best options for oil companies to expand commercially within the Red Sea countries; Sudan’s potential for oil recovery; how to enhance the exploration process given the new conditions of the oil market and the innovation programming for geoscience growth in MENA.

Amongst the delegation were senior executives from Eni E&P, Kuwait Energy, RWE Dea, KUFPEC, TransGlobe Egypt, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, Hunt Oil, ION Geophysical, Greensand Exploration and others. The Society of Exploration Geophysics, the Middle East Association, the international gas association Cedigaz and the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel were supporters of this high profile forum.

More information about the Red Sea Oil & Gas 2015 Summit is available on http://www.redseasummit.com while documentation is available for purchase for those who were not able to attend.

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Xenia Sapanidi
since: 09/2012
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