Dec 15, 2017 Last Updated 11:51 AM, Dec 14, 2017

Egypt repays debt to foreign oil & gas companies

Foreign oil and gas companies received a US$1.5 billion payment from Egypt as a repayment of part of its debt.

The payment followed the announcement that the government had signed $1.4 billion worth of loans with a National Bank of Egypt led consortium of banks.

The debt owed now stands at $4.9 billion. The last repayment by Egypt was in December 2013 and worth $1.5 billion.

Minister of Petroleum Sheri Ismail said: “The government aims to reduce the debt to encourage the firms to step up research and exploration operations, to boost local production of oil and gas and minimise imports, which in turn will spare the cash to continue paying Egypt's due debts to its foreign partners.”

The minister announced earlier this week that $2-3 billion of its debt would be paid to foreign oil and gas companies before the end of the calendar year.


Cairn discovers oil in FAN-1 exploration well

 Scotland-headquartered Cairn Energy PLC (LSE: CNE) and its joint venture partners have discovered oil in its Senegal-based FAN-1 exploration well.

The preliminary analysis of the well indicated a net oil bearing reservoir of 29 metres.

The well, located 1,427 metres deep in the Sangomar Deep block, reached the target depth of 4,927 metres.

Estimates for the well are in line with the pre-drill STOIIP predictions and include a proven resource of 250 million barrels (mmbbls), probable 950 mmbbls and possible 2,500 mmbbls.

Cairn CEO Simon Thomson said: "The oil discovered in the FAN-1 prospect is an important event for Senegal and the Joint Venture.

“We have encountered a very substantial oil bearing interval which may have significant potential as a standalone discovery.

“Furthermore, this result materially upgrades the prospectivity of the block with a proven petroleum system and a number of deep fan and shelf prospects established.”

Follow-up activity is targeted for 2015 onwards.

Following completion of the FAN-1 well, the rig will go on to complete the second well SNE-1, which is targeting a dual objective in 1,100 metre water depth.


Universal to develop second coal mine

Universal Coal (ASX: UNV) will start development of a second coal mine in the Witbank coalfield at its Roodekop project in South Africa.

Following a water licence being granted the coal miner has all the approvals necessary to begin developing the second mine.The Roodekop project has a total resource of 84.3 million tonnes with a proven reserve of 10.6 million tonnes.

Universal CEO Tony Weber said: “With our Kangala mine operating at steady-state and delivering to schedule, we are delighted to now have all the licences in place to commence development of our export-focused project, Roodekop.”

Universal is also set to acquire the New Clydesdale colliery that sits adjacent to the project, which will fast-track the activities at Roodekop to start before the end of the year.

“In essence, the combined New Clydesdale colliery and Roodekop contain sufficient coal resources to support the installed two-million-tonnes-per-year processing capacity at the colliery for the foreseeable future, with a significant proportion of production able to be beneficiated for the export market,” added Weber.

The development of both Roodekop and New Clydesdale will bring Universal Coal closer to becoming a mid-tier coal producer.


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