ION Geophysical Corporation today announced an agreement with the Puntland Petroleum and Minerals Agency (PPMA) of the autonomous Puntland State of Somalia to complete a multi-client 2D regional seismic survey in Puntland’s offshore territory. The PuntlandSPAN survey is the first of its kind within Puntland’s jurisdiction and will assist the PPMA in demarcating a block boundary scheme for future licensing activity.
The agreement with the PPMA was concluded during a signing ceremony attended by His Excellency Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, President of Puntland and former Prime Minister of Somalia, who offered full governmental backing for the project. When completed, PuntlandSPAN will deliver more than 7600 km of pre-stack depth-migrated data to help explorationists gain a better understanding of both the architecture of the sedimentary basins and the hydrocarbon potential of this margin.
Puntland is considered highly prospective; regionally, it is a geologic analogue of Yemen and Oman, where oil reserves have been discovered in Cretaceous and Jurassic formations. Both areas once formed a single landmass before the Gulf of Aden rifted and separated the Horn of Africa from the Arabian Peninsula. Puntland’s eastern offshore region is also a conjugate margin to India, where recent discoveries have been made; in the Indian Ocean, the program will test the continuation of Mesozoic failed rift basins, as well as the presence of a Karoo-aged rift system perpendicular to the coast.
Dr. Osman Salad Hersi, associate professor at the University of Regina and technical advisor to the Puntland Authority, attests that the Indian Ocean shelf of Somalia extends farther southward along the continental margin of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. “This region has been a site of significant hydrocarbon discoveries within the past two years and has attracted the interest of many exploration companies,” he noted. Hersi also expressed that the PuntlandSPAN is “a well-needed survey that will bolster the interest of the exploration companies and confer significant leverage for the State’s endeavour to license blocks to the oil industry.”
Issa Farah, Director of the Puntland Petroleum and Minerals Agency, commented: “This survey will prove a highly valuable tool as Puntland begins to promote future licensing rounds for deep water oil and gas exploration. Although this offshore domain is largely unexplored, the international oil and gas community has recently expressed keen interest in understanding the region’s viability. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with ION as they extend their globally-recognised BasinSPAN library into Northeast Africa.”
The PuntlandSPAN survey is currently in planning stages, scheduled to commence in the second quarter of 2015 pending the issue of environmental and reconnaissance permits.
Adapted from press release by Joe Green