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Mali: Private company awarded huge exploration permit

02 Nov 2004

Five large onshore exploration permits in northern Mali, West Africa, have been awarded to private company Baraka Mali Ventures Ltd., established by Perth-based geologist and entrepreneur Max de Vietri. Mr De Vietri introduced Hardman Resources NL of Perth to the virgin acreage off Mauritania in the mid-1990s (now operated by another Perth company, Woodside Petroleum Ltd.) in what led to the first commercial oil discoveries there. He now is applying the same principles in neighbouring landlocked Mali, a country that has had only five exploration wells drilled throughout its history. No drilling has taken place since the 1970s. The five permits (Blocks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 9) total 193,200 sq km, which is one-third the size of Texas, and extend from the Algerian border in the east across to the border with Mauritania in the west. They lie in the Taoudeni basin in the Sahara Desert to the north and west of the ancient city of Timbuktu. The basin, containing Precambrian to Carboniferous sediments, is similar to known petroleum provinces with large oil and gas discoveries in neighbouring Algeria and Libya. Mali introduced a new Petroleum Code into law during August this year, and Baraka's production-sharing agreements, signed on October the 27th in the national capital Bamako, are the first to be issued under the new regime. Details of the PSA terms are confidential, but they are described as globally competitive. Baraka has undertaken to spend $51 million over the next 4 years across all five permits. It will also spend $1 million in training local Malians and promoting the country as an exploration destination for the world petroleum industry. Baraka will spend the first year reprocessing 2D seismic data that the company acquired earlier this year. The company intends to negotiate with other explorers to take farmouts on the rank wildcat acreage. Baraka is also negotiating with several corporate entities with a view to merger or acquisition and a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. Source: OGJ

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