CNOOC West Africa Petroleum has signed an agreement to acquire a 55.55% participating interest in the Sinapa and Esperanca petroleum licences located offshore Guinea-Bissau from Svenska Petroleum Exploration.

Svenska’s wholly-owned subsidiary SPE Guinea Bissau operates Block 2, the Sinapa Licence, and Blocks 4A & 5A, the Esperança Licence.

FAR and Empresa Nacional de Pesquisa e Exploração Petrolíferas are the other co-venturers in these licences. Following the transfer of interest, FAR will retain its 21.42% participating interest in each of the licences.

FAR managing director Cath Norman said: “Attracting a National Oil Company such as CNOOC shows the confidence that another major company has in FAR’s Guinea-Bissau acreage.

“CNOOC brings a wealth of technical and operational expertise and experience and we look forward to finalising the details of the future drilling plans that are expected to begin early 2020.”

CNOOC is required to fund 55.55% of all expenditures under their respective agreement for joint venture participation and joint operating agreements.

If a commercial discovery is made, the company’s interest will convert to a 50% participating interest in each of the licences. Retaining a reduced 23.03% participating interest, Svenska will continue to act as operator.

After completion of the upcoming offshore drilling campaign, CNOOC may elect to assume operatorship. Svenska will continue to operate the exploration licences.

The farm-out agreement is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019 after securing approval from the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau and customary joint venture consents.