African Petroleum has reached agreements with the Petroleum Directorate Sierra Leone to enter the second extension periods of the SL-03 and SL-4A-10 licences.

Under the agreements, the parties have also agreed to modify the work programmes for both licences during these periods.

As a result of the agreements, the second extension periods for the SL-03 and SL-4A-10 licences will expire on 23 April 2019 and 17 September 2019 respectively.

The extensions are conditional upon a commitment to drill one exploration well in each licence area during the remaining term of the respective licence before 1 November 2018.

“The additional flexibility afforded by the amended commitments will help us to introduce new parties to the project.”

African Petroleum CEO Jens Pace said: “Based on recent discussions we have held with industry players, we are aware of an increased appetite for material ultra-deep offshore opportunities, driven by the advancements in drilling technology and the decrease in operating costs.

“The additional flexibility afforded by the amended commitments will help us to introduce new parties to the project.”

African Petroleum’s subsidiaries European Hydrocarbon and African Petroleum Sierra Leone will use state-owned well and seismic data, along with existing seismic data to further derisk the licences before making the decision regarding the commitment.

Pursuant to the terms of the licence, the company has given up on 50% of each of the SL-03 and the SL-4A-10 licence areas, reducing them from 1,930km² to 962km², and from 1,995km² to 995km² respectively.

Alongside the approvals, the Petroleum Directorate Sierra Leone agreed to modify the minimum expenditure requirements of the two licences.