OPHIR Energy has withdrawn from a farm-in agreement it signed with Australia-based WHL Energy over three energy blocks located offshore the Seychelles.

In a brief announcement, WHL said Ophir had exercised its exit option under a farm-in agreement signed in 2014, which would have seen Ophir earn a 75 per cent interest in WHL Energy’s Seychelles stakes.

With Ophir having withdrawn from the farm-in, the blocks will revert to the control of the Seychelles government and its state-run oil company PetroSeychelles.

WHL said it was in discussions with the Seychelles Government to continue its participation in the blocks and would update the market on the outcome of those discussions in due course.

Ophir had acquired 1,500 square kilometres of 3D seismic data in July 2014 over blocks 5B/1, 5B/2 and 5B/3, which together cover 12,855 square kilometres of area in water depths of less than 75 metres.

On its webpage, the company said it had conducted interpretation activities throughout 2015 with a prospect inventory finalised ahead of a potential exploration drilling in 2016.

In March 2015, WHL told the Australian Securities Exchange that its own 2D seismic survey had identified “very substantial opportunities” in two prospects offshore the Seychelles.

WHL managing director David Rowbottam said at the time that both Junon Central and Junon South East were highly material opportunities with best estimate prospective resources in excess of 200 million barrels, along with follow-up potential at Junon South.

“This provides confidence that the high upside potential identified in the Beau Vallon structure and the Junon North trend prospects, which are currently only defined on 2D seismic, will potentially develop into valuable prospects with further 3D seismic acquisition,” he said.

“If our JV partner Ophir Energy elects to continue to the drilling phase under its farm-in agreement then these are the likely targets of future seismic acquisition.”