Joint Development Zone
Background of the JDZ
In the spring of 2001, Sao Tome & Principe and Nigeria signed a treaty establishing a JDZ for the joint development of petroleum and other resources in the overlapping area of their respective maritime boundaries. The treaty also established an administrative body, the Joint Development Authority (“JDA”), to administer the treaty and all activities in the JDZ. Revenues derived from the JDZ will be shared 60:40 between the governments of Nigeria and Săo Tomé & Príncipe, respectively. The JDZ lies approximately 180 kilometers south of Nigeria, in the Gulf of Guinea, one of the most prolific hydrocarbon regions of the world.
ERHC’s Rights in the JDZ
In April 2003, the Company and STP entered into an Option Agreement (the “2003 Option Agreement”) in which the Company relinquished significant prior legal rights and financial interests in the Joint Development Zone (“JDZ”) in exchange for preferential exploration rights in the JDZ. Following the exercise of ERHC’s rights as set forth in the 2003 Option Agreement, the JDA confirmed the award in 2004 of participating interests (“Original Participating Interest”) in each of JDZ Blocks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9 of the JDZ during the 2004/5 licensing round conducted by the JDA. ERHC also jointly bid with internationally recognized technical partners for additional participating interests in the JDZ during the 2004/5 licensing round. As a result of the joint bid, ERHC won additional participating interests (“Joint Bid Participating Interest”) in Blocks 2, 3 and 4.
ERHC’s JDZ Acreage
ERHC has working interests in six of the nine Blocks in the JDZ, as follows:
- JDZ Block 2: 22.0%
- JDZ Block 3: 10.0%
- JDZ Block 4: 19.5%
- JDZ Block 5: 15.0% (in arbitration)
- JDZ Block 6: 15.0% (in arbitration)
- JDZ Block 9: 20.0%
The working interest percentages represent ERHC’s share of all the hydrocarbon production from the blocks and obligates ERHC to pay a corresponding percentage of the costs of drilling, production and operating the blocks. Through Exploration Phase 1 in blocks 2, 3 and 4, these costs have been carried by the operators. The operators can only recover their costs by carrying ERHC until production whereupon the operators will recover their costs from production revenues.
In 2009, Sinopec and Addax, ERHC's technical partners and operators in Blocks 2, 3 and 4 undertook an exploratory drilling campaign across the three blocks that was completed in January 2010.
Biogenic gas was discovered in each block and discussions continue between the Joint Development Authority and the parties, including ERHC, that hold interests in JDZ Blocks 2, 3 and 4, regarding drilling results. The meetings with the JDA are aimed at reaching a definitive agreement on how to proceed with the next stage of exploration in the Blocks following the expiration of Exploration Phase I in March 2012.
JDZ Operations Update
The JDZ partnership is currently assessing the data for possible new exploration play concepts in this area.