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Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum acquires two Zambian oil blocks

Oranto Petroleum and its sister company Atlas has signed an agreement which gives it 90 percent stake in two onshore Zambian blocks 17 and 27, a deal which increases the company’s operation into 12 jurisdictions from 11 and raised its oil and gas licenses by two to 24.
This is the company’s first investment in a country that has ambitions to diversify its economy from copper production to oil.
By virtue of the agreement, ZCCM Investment Holdings, investments holdings company with diversified interests in mining, energy and other sectors of the Zambian economy in which the country has significant shares, will control a 10 percent share, on behalf of the Zambian Government.
The agreement requires conducting geological and geophysical studies for first two 2-year sub-periods.

“Oranto Petroleum is committed to an aggressive work program to increase the level of prospectivity in one of the world’s last true frontier markets,” said Prince Aurthe Eze, Chairman of Oranto Petroleum.

“Our specialty at Oranto Petroleum is discovering the vast potential of Africa’s frontier oil and gas markets, and we are very pleased to add Zambia to our extensive portfolio. We are committed to developing Zambia into an oil and gas producing nation, as we have many times with other countries on the continent.”

However, the company’s strategy is unclear because while it is ramping up acquisition of oil and gas licenses across the continent, there are many companies bidding to snap its African oil assets.

Indian firms Bharat, ONGC (state-owned), China’s Yanchang and Russian oil major, Rosneft are jostling to acquire the oil assets of Oranto Petroleum in African countries according to Africa Energy Intelligence reports.

According to the report, Bharat, ONGC, and Yanchang were also eyeing Oranto’s Senegalese assets: Cayar Shallow, acquired in 2008, and Saint Louis Shallow, signed in 2015.

In Ivory coast, the government cancelled some of the firm’s permits due to lack of activity giving the impression that it maybe amassing more portfolio than it can manage.

Oranto Petroleum and its sister company Atlas Petroleum International comprise the largest African independent by acreage, with active exploration and production programs across the continent, including Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, South Sudan and Uganda.

Current operators in Zambia include Tullow Oil and Bowleven. Though only marginal finds have been discovered, the under-explored market shares basins with Tanzania to the northeast and Angola to the west — both of which have hosted mega oil and gas discoveries.

Operating as sister companies in the West Africa region since 1991, Atlas and Oranto now operate throughout Africa, with regional offices and representatives in all our core investment locations.