In April 2006, Madagascar opened up 96 new offshore oil and natural gas blocks for tender. The government accepted bids from interested parties until November 17, 2006. The licensing round is overseen by the Office des Mines Nationales et des Industries Strategiques (OMNIS) and TGS-Nopec, which completed seismic data on the blocks. International oil and natural gas companies active in Madagascar include ExxonMobil, Norsk Hydro (Norway), Vanco Energy (U.S.), Vuna Resources (China) and SUNPEC International Ltd (China). The government was in the process of negotiating concessions with several other oil giants, including Chevron, Texaco, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Total, Norway's Statoil and China's National Petroleum Corporation.
- Oil production: 90.59 bbl/day (2004 est.)
- Madagascar Oil is the current license holder of the Tsimiroro and Bemolanga tar sand deposits in the onshore Morondava Basin of Madagascar discovered in the early 1900s. Tsimiroro is a large heavy oil field at 100-300m depth. The block, with an area of 6,670 km2, is located in NW Madagascar about 100km from the coast. Sixty-one wells have been drilled on Tsimiroro’s 70 km² core area to date. With the use of SAGD the expected recovery factor is estimated to be 55%. The Company is currently executing a pilot project on Tsimiroro. Tsimiroro is also prospective for conventional hydrocarbons. A Tsimiroro sample of 22º API oil was reported in 1988 from a test well in the south of the block.l
Bemolanga is a bitumen field at 0-30m depth with a reserve of 16.6 billion barrels (9.8 billion recoverable). The Bemolanga block, with an area of 7,175 km2, is located in NW Madagascar about 120km from the coast. Thirteen wells and over 500 core-holes have been drilled from the 1950s to the early 1980s and the surface mining area is defined by less than 40 meters depth to top tarsand. The average overburden in the surface mining area is around 15m, considerably less than average overburden in Canada. Madagascar Oil also has a 100% interest in conventional oil and gas exploration onshore blocks 2103, 3105, 3106, 3107 and a 50% interest in block 3109, where Tullow Oil is the operator.
- In 2005, U.K.-based Sterling Energy sold 70 percent of offshore Ambilobe and Ampasindava licenses to ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil plans to finance exploration work on the licenses.
- In August, 2005, Aminex plc announced the award of onshore exploration acreage in Madagascar. Aminex, with partner Mocoh Resources Ltd.(“Mocoh”), has been awarded the rights to Block 3108, known as Manja, onshore the west coast of Madagascar and covering an area of 10,725 square kilometres, (approximately 2.6 million acres).
The rights to this block are held through a Production Sharing Agreement (“PSA”) between OMNIS, the Madagascar state oil and mining organisation and Amicoh Resources Limited (“Amicoh”), a newly formed company, in which Aminex and Mocoh each holds an equal number of shares and through which the shareholders will fund exploration activity in equal proportions. Mocoh is an active downstream African petroleum group with existing assets and distribution operations in a number of countries including Madagascar.
- Tullow Oil plc signed its first licence in Madagascar in early December 2005. Onshore Block 3109 (Mandabe), situated in the Morandava Basin, covers 11,050 sq km in the southwest of the country. The work programme includes a 6,700 km reconnaissance aerogravity survey to aid the design of a seismic acquisition programme. Tullow signed the PSA for a second licence in Oct 2006. The onshore Block 3111 (Berenty) lies adjacent to, and south of, Block 3109 and covers 9,050 sq km. The agreed work programme for the initial 3-year exploration period includes the acquisition of 200km of 2D seismic and the drilling of a well. This licence requires a presidential decree before it becomes effective.