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Situation and perspectives of the petroleum in Mauritania.  
The surface of The Mauritania is 1 080 000 km ². it possesses two sedimentary ponds susceptible to contain hydrocarbons: the pond of Taoudenni (500 000 km ²) and the coastal pond (180 000 km ²). In what follows, we shall, briefly, try to review the oil exploitation of each of them.

 

The researches in the coastal pond began from 1960, after the independence of the country. They continued, relentlessly, until 1992, without marketable discovery. After two years of interruption, the operations started again of more beautiful to result, finally, in interesting perspectives of exploitation. To date, are there present twenty four oil companies among which twenty one signed a production sharing contract with the Mauritanian government.

 

Several discoveries were announced, indeed, since May, 2001. The recoverable reserves of oil (in the fields of Chinguitti, Walata (ex--Tiof) and Tevet) are of the order of 400 million barrels. The reserves of gas (in the fields of Banda and Pelican) are estimated at 3 TCF (Trillion Cubic Feet) or 84 billions m3. The field of Chinguitti was put in production on February 24th, 2006, at the rate of 75 000 b/d. Its expectancy life is estimated in 10 years. But, very fast, technical problems appeared, limiting the production, on average, unless 30 000 b/j in 2006 and unless 20 000 b/d in 2007.
The current production (March, 2008) is situated around 11 000 b/j. Government stocks amounted to 89 millions USD in 2006 and in 46 millions USD in 2007. The campaign of current drilling (two new wells of production and resumption of three others at the level of the field of Chinguitti) could, according to the specialists, return the production, from September, 2008, in 35 000 b/d.
Concerning the other oil-fields (Tiof and Tevet), no decision of marketing, no program of development presented, this day, to the Mauritanian government by the operator ( Petronas).

 

Gas fields (Was strained and Pelican) were not estimated yet. Their current reserves, which must be confirmed by refined measures, would not allow to dash into the construction of a unit of liquefaction of gas that all the present companies in Mauritania wish to begin as soon as possible. It is necessary, indeed, to have more than 200 billions of m3 of recoverable gases (+ 7 TCF) to make profitable the heavy investments necessary for this type of gas industry.

 

Studies, in association with international gas companies, were introduced by the Moresque authorities for the generation of electricity from an association between the oil of Chinguitti and the gas of Banda. The results of these studies are not still known.
The researches in the pond of Taoudenni started in 1968. Fruitless, they broke off in 1974. It is the little known pond which would conceal, according to the specialists, important reserves of hydrocarbons.
Since 2003, several big companies negotiated licences there and are at present, for some of them, in advanced phase of exploration. Twenty one production sharing contracts are already signed for it, this day, by seventeen international oil companies (see map). The results of the first new campaigns of exploration will not be known before the middle 2009.

 

Important reserves, according to the experts, will be revealing, during the next years, not only in the pond of Taoudenni, but also in the offshore part deep extreme reactionary of the coastal pond. These discoveries will make of the Mauritania an important oil actor of it under region. Thanks to its geographical position, it is near big markets of consumption. Leaving the Moresque coast(ribs), tankers put less than a week to join ports(bearings) the most remote from Western Europe and less than fortnight, to reunite the Est coast o United States of America, without considerable geopolitical constraints.

 

The Mauritania, the small country by the number of inhabitants - hardly 3 millions - among which 2/3 are illiterates, entered, since February, 2006, the circle of the producing countries of hydrocarbons. The bordering countries (Mali, Senegal, Morocco and Algeria) are much more populated and have problems of povrety, very pointed for most part of them. This new situation imposes in the Mauritania a lot of wisdom and diplomatic skill. The involvement of these various countries, each according to its status in it under region, in the Moresque oil basket, is important for the stability of our country.

 

This specific attention our immediate regional environment cannot, naturally, make us forget the western major powers and China, who must be fairly sought in the exploration and the oil production of our country, via their qualified companies, by playing, with flexibility, on the rules of the free-market economy.

 

Without effective and intelligent involvement of these various actors in fruits generated by this new resource, the oil will be, for the Mauritanian people, more a curse than a formidable tool of development.
 
Source: AMI/PMD  

 
   

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