Chariot to Sell Stakes in Namibia, Mauritania Before Drilling

Chariot Oil & Gas Ltd., a U.K. explorer focused on West Africa, will sell stakes in fields off Namibia and Mauritania to help fund drilling costs next year.

The company plans to drill at least two wells in Namibia’s Central Blocks and possibly one in the C-19 area of Mauritania, Chief Executive Officer Paul Welch said. A data room will be opened next year for possible bidders to acquire interests in the licenses.

“Namibia is still one of our primary focuses,” Welch said in an interview in London. “We have more than 50 percent of our assets in Namibia.”

Chariot Oil has lost about 80 percent of its market value since May after failing to make a find at the Tapir South or Nimrod prospects, which had been expected to mirror oil discoveries on the other side of the Atlantic. Namibia has attracted attention from some of the world’s biggest oil companies including BP Plc and Repsol SA.

The explorer plans to drill the Delta 1 well in the central area of Namibia, which will be followed by one more, according to a company presentation. At the same time, it is “moving to diversify” interests in West Africa, Welch said.

“We’ve got a very aggressive plan” in Mauritania, he said. “We are pretty excited as there are many different play types.”

The company is acquiring three-dimensional seismic data over Block C-19 and expects to map out prospects similar to the Banda gas field, operated by Tullow Oil Plc. It expects to avoid a repeat of Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd.’s experience with the Chinguetti, Mauritania’s first oil field which failed to meet output targets, according to Welch.

“We are in a completely different geological environment, so we are not going to have the same kind of issues,” he said.

Chariot has been also acquiring exploration interests in Morocco, with plans to drill its first well as soon as 2014.

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