US-BASED Noble Energy and Australia’s Woodside Petroleum have secured a new production sharing contract (PSC) area offshore Gabon, after signing a deal with the nation’s government.

Block F15 is located about 140 kilometres off the coast of Gabon and covers over 270,000 hectares in water depths of between 2,300 to 3,000 metres.

The PSC includes a four-year seismic commitment and a future option for exploration drilling.

Noble’s senior vice president for the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Frontier areas, Susan M. Cunningham, said the PSC meaningfully expanded the Company’s exploration portfolio.

“We look forward to working with the Government of Gabon and our partner on this project, which has the potential to contribute significantly to the economy of Gabon, as well as to the local communities,” she said.

“Several substantial subsalt leads have already been identified on the acreage, and we expect the prospectivity of the block will be enhanced as the work program progresses.”

Noble holds a 60 per cent operating stake in the PSC, with the remaining 40% stake held by Woodside, with company chief executive Peter Coleman saying the PSC was an opportunity for the company to secure significant acreage with a like-minded partner.

“This is yet another exciting opportunity for us in Africa, building on recent acquisitions in Tanzania and Morocco,” he said.

“Once again, this opportunity reflects our disciplined and strategic approach to studying regional petroleum systems and is a good fit for our core capabilities in deepwater exploration.”