Sierra Leone has extended the closing of its bid round until January 27, 2023, saying it had taken the decision to handle the increased interest.
The deadline for the fifth offshore round had been due on September 30, the Petroleum Directorate Sierra Leone (PDSL) said.
More time will allow IOCs and NOCs to gather more information and complete their geological and geophysical analysis.
PDSL said the companies would be able to review the existing 29,000 line km of 2D seismic and 11,000 square km of 3D multi-client seismic.
The deadline is for pre-qualification. Once companies have submitted plans, PDSL will be issue notice of awards. The companies will then be able to negotiate with government on a petroleum licence.
Africa Energy Partners (AEP) is working on the marketing of the round, while TGS provides seismic.
Three discoveries have been made offshore Sierra Leone – Venus, Mercury and Jupiter – but none of them proved to be commercial.
PDSL has flagged a “potentially large and interesting prospect in Block 130”, which it calls the Sylvia prospect. According to the regulator’s calculations, this may hold 920 million barrels of oil equivalent.
An article from TGS in 2021 said Sierra Leone “can be tectonically-reconstructed back to fit with the Guyana Basin”.
Sierra Leone is not the only country that has pushed back exploration plans. Mozambique also extended its sixth bid round in July. This had been due to close at the end of August but the regulator pushed this back to November 11.
Updated at 1:59 pm to correct new closing date as January 27.