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Zanzibar clears ground for 2020 bid round

Seventeen years after Shell landed the right to negotiate production sharing contracts for three deep-water blocks off Tanzania’s Spice Islands of Pemba and Zanzibar, authorities are finally moving to open up the play after a decade of gridlocked talks over regional autonomy, writes Barry Morgan.

The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, has announced a non-exclusive multi-client 2D seismic tender for the processing, interpretation and marketing of data acquired in the deep offshore off eastern Zanzibar. Suitors have until midday on 20 September to submit bid documents to the Zanzibar Petroleum Regulatory Authority, at a cost of $50,000.

The 4300 kilometre survey will begin in the last quarter of 2019 and run through the first quarter 2020 in water depths ranging from 500 to 3500 metres, deploying long offset over 10x10 kilometre grids, acquiring bathymetric, gravity and magnetic data.

The aim is to acquire data of sufficient quality to allow for region-wide identification of leads and for the promotion of open acreage in a licensing round in 2020, independent of mainland Tanzania.

Zanzibar’s deep offshore basin sprawls over 36,065 square kilometres immediately below the line of latitude constituting the maritime boundary with neighbouring Kenya, abutting Qatar Petroleum's Lamu basin acreage.

Shell remains in talks with Zanzibar “to finalise negotiations” for blocks 9, 10, 11 and 12, first drafted in 2004, alongside United Arab Emirates-based Rakgas, which has title to onshore and near-shore acreage around Pemba.

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