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Sterling extends exploration licence at Madagascar offshore blocks
These approvals have now been formally published in the Official Gazette of Madagascar as final ratification of ministerial and presidential approvals granted to the company in October 2014.
“We are pleased to receive approval for the extension of the current periods on both the Ambilobe and Ampasindava Blocks,” said Alastair Beardsall, Sterling’s executive chairman. “Work continues on understanding the sub-surface potential of these two very large, undrilled exploration areas.’’
The Ambilobe PSC, awarded in 2004, is in Phase 2 of the exploration period with all minimum work commitments for the current phase completed. In December 2013, Sterling completed a farm-out agreement with Pura Vida Mauritius (Pura Vida) under which all costs associated with the acquisition of a discretionary 3D seismic programme, up to a maximum of USD 15m, are carried by Pura Vida.
Sterling and Pura Vida each hold a 50 per cent interest in the Ambilobe Block with Sterling as operator. Sterling and Pura Vida continue with planning of the 3D seismic programme which is expected to commence in March 2015.
The Ampasindava PSC was awarded in 2004 and is in Phase 3 of the exploration period. Sterling holds a 30 per cent non-operated working interest and it is operated by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) Limited, who hold a 70 per cent working interest.
Under the terms of the farm-in by ExxonMobil in 2005, Sterling’s share of exploration costs in this block is carried up to a fixed gross amount.