The licence block, part of a bidding process which closed last March, will see Petroceltic take a 37.5% stake in Block 12 of the El Qa’a Plain, with Dana Petroleum and Australian explorer Beach Petroleum sharing the remainder.
Commenting on the prospects for the relatively under-explored region, Petroceltic chief executive Brian O’Cathain said yesterday: “We have already identified a number of structures which we believe to be potentially prospective for oil, and these will be the focus of our work in the first phase of the licence.”
Petroceltic — which recently expanded its international presence to include Egypt and the Black Sea on the back of a reverse takeover of British company Melrose Resources — said earlier this week that it is on target to meet full-year production aims and will drill 10 wells next year.
Elsewhere, South American mining giant Antofagasta announced it will not exercise its option to take a majority 51% stake in the La Zarza copper and gold project in the Huelva province in southern Spain, currently owned by Irish exploration company Ormonde Mining.
The Chilean company farmed into the project, paying development costs and earning an option to invest up to $7m (€5.5m) to gain a 51% stake.
While Antofagasta has pulled out on its own recovery targets not being met, Ormonde still sees La Zarza as a high potential asset. The company still has options, including taking on another partner, but said yesterday it will provide further information on its plans in due course.
Ormonde is also in discussions on the funding of its main asset, the Barruecopardo tungsten project in western Spain.