US-based Vaalco Energy has signed an agreement to acquire an additional 3.23% participating interest in the Etame Marin permit located offshore Gabon from Sojitz Etame.

Prior to the acquisition, Vaalco owned a 30.35% participating interest in the fields in the Etame Marin block, which covers around 28,700 gross acres in shallow water. 

At present, the concession has four producing production platforms and nine wells, including three subsea well tiebacks. 

"We are very pleased to increase our participating interest in our flagship producing asset."

During the second quarter of this year, production from the fields averaged approximately 19,000 barrels of oil per day.

Production commenced in 2002 and since then more than 93 million barrels of oil have been produced. 

The latest acquisition is expected to boost Vaalco’s net production by nearly 11%.

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Vaalco Energy CEO Steve Guidry said: “We are very pleased to increase our participating interest in our flagship producing asset in offshore Gabon to 33.58%. 

"We have identified at least 17 future drilling opportunities we can pursue when prices recover that we estimate could include about 65 million barrels of gross unrisked recoverable contingent resources.

“This is an ideal acquisition for us as it is anticipated to increase our production by nearly 11% and not require any additional staffing or cash overhead costs to assimilate into the company.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close within 90 days. 

Vaalco proposes to fund the acquisition with the additional $5m loan capacity available under the new term loan agreement announced last month with the International Finance (IFC).