VAALCO Energy, with its partners, has said it has successfully obtained an extension of one of its main exploration permits.

The original expiration date for the Gabon-based Etame Marin Exploration Permit was July 2011. It has now been extended to July 2014.

Under the extended permit, the company will hold a 30.35% stake in the exploration and operating rights to nearly 759,000 acres encircling the Etame field offshore Gabon up to July 2014.

VAALCO and its partners will drill another exploration well, which will bring the total under the permit to two exploration wells, acquiring 3D seismic data next year.

VAALCO chairman and CEO Robert Gerry said the Etame Marin block offers several potential opportunities to add to production and reserves.

Other partners in the permit include Addax Petroleum Etame, which holds a 33.9% interest, followed by Sasol Petroleum Etame with 30%, Sojitz Etame with 3.23% and PetroEnergy Resources with 2.52%.