The Equatorial Guinea Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons has awarded production sharing contracts (PSCs) for three offshore oil and gas blocks.

One of the PSCs has been awarded to Panoro Energy, and its partners Kosmos Energy, and state-owned GEPetrol for block EG-01.

Panoro Energy operates block EG-01 with a 56% stake while Kosmos Energy and GEPetrol own 24% and 20% interests, respectively.

The PSC, which has an initial term of three years, includes subsurface studies based on existing seismic data to further assess the block’s prospectivity.

The partners have the option to extend the period for a further two years to carry out drilling at one exploration well.

Located adjacent to block G and block S, and in water depths ranging from 30m to 500m, block EG-01 is covered by high quality 3D seismic data.

Panoro CEO John Hamilton said: “The award of block EG-01 is a natural and complementary expansion of our portfolio in Equatorial Guinea and in line with our infrastructure led exploration strategy, increasing our access to a large inventory of oil prospects and leads within tie back distance of existing production facilities for a modest financial exposure.”

Furthermore, Africa Oil has signed two PSCs for offshore blocks EG-18 and EG-31.

The two blocks are subject to ratification by the country’s government.

Upon ratification, the company will have an 80% stake in the two blocks. The remaining stake will be held by GEPetrol, which also holds an option to increase its stake by an additional 15%.

Africa Oil said the minimum work commitment for both blocks stands at $7m in the initial exploration periods.

The firm said that block EG-18 holds a potentially large and prospective basin floor fan prospect of Cretaceous age.

Furthermore, Africa Oil identified several gas-prone prospects in shallow water depths in block EG-31.

Africa Oil President and CEO Keith Hill said: “I am pleased to announce our entry into Equatorial Guinea with two highly-prospective offshore blocks.

“Block 31 offers the potential for low-risk gas prospects that are in a proven petroleum province with infrastructure and ullage for significant additional volumes of gas.

“In block 18 we see a large turbidite fan that is reminiscent of some of our large discoveries in Namibia and South Africa. These blocks offer high-impact value upside for our shareholders at relatively low cost, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the government of Equatorial Guinea to explore and develop its natural resources.”