Petronas has officially transferred its stake in two Gambian blocks to Australian minnow FAR, which will now seek a new partner to support exploration.
The two drilled the Bambo-1 in late 2021 but results were disappointing.
FAR now has a 100% stake in the A2 and A5 blocks. FAR and Petronas, via PC Gambia, had previously held 50% each.
Recent rumours suggest Petronas is considering the sale of its entire African upstream portfolio.
A statement from FAR said there was now no obligation to drill an exploration well on the licences in the next two year term.
“FAR’s acquisition of the remaining 50% of The Gambia assets and the positive discussions with the government of The Gambia on the terms for the First Extension Exploration Period will provide FAR options to utilise its valuable exploration data to maximise value from the asset,” said the Australian company’s chairman Patrick O’Connor.
“These developments have minimal impact on FAR’s forward budget while significantly improving the chance of securing new investment. FAR remains committed to generating real value for our shareholders, and we see this transaction as a part of that overarching strategy.”
The next two-year phase will begin on October 1, 2022.
The company has begun work to find a partner. It would need to be able to fund future exploration and may also take over the role of operator. It has opened a data room.
FAR and Petronas found oil shows in the Bambo-1, and sidetrack. Recent work has shown oil at multiple levels beneath the secondary objective. The Australian company has tipped a new prospect, which it named Panthera, as having “compelling evidence of an oil charge”. This prospect is a “strong candidate” for future drilling, it said.