PKF – An Oil/Gas Exploration Conference in London

Source: Mr.George Mangion¸ PKF Malta

As Published on Media Today¸ Wednesday 24th of April 2013 

As to prospecting for hydrocarbons this is a risky business which needs a lot of capital and there only a few dedicated investors which do not stop drilling after the first dry well breaks their resolve. One remembers with nostalgia how in the 1950’s shortly after the discovery of oil in Triassic dolomites at Ragusa in southeast Sicily interest on this  discovery had caught the headlines and started our race to the bottom to try and locate the elusive gold. It is heartwarming to hear official circles reveal that the main source rock for the oil in the Ragusa basin is expected to be rich in the organic Streppenosa oil shale unit which is designated world class in its prolific oil generating capabilities¸ and most likely extends into the area in our waters close to Sicily. There is a recognisable fairway of oil discoveries and oil fields leading from onshore Sicily into its southern offshore waters. No wonder that the offshore Sicily Vega oil field¸ with an estimated resource of 1 billion barrels of oil in place¸ is only 20km away from the northern border of the latest zone in Malta’s exploration efforts. Needless to say¸ experts predict that the proximity of similar concessions and similarity in geology to the producing basins of Tunisia and Sicily lend support to the theory that oil strikes for Malta cannot be excluded. The “intrabasin” ridge trend therefore offers a new and highly prospective oil strike in our waters. Unfortunately 12 wells were drilled in 60 years but none proved successful but then one may ask did we persevere in attracting new foreign investors to risk their capital in our waters ? The answer is not easy to give and one must also recall various protests made by neighbouring countries which contested  the delineation of the boundaries in our interpretation of  territorial waters . Admittedly ¸now just after a long fought electoral campaign where the subject of oil drilling was considered a taboo – yes  there  is so much pessimism on the streets that there is no hope of recovering the black gold that perhaps the sector has been neglected over the past 6 years but now it seems that due to geopolitical changes it may be an ideal time to try again . It is encouraging to note that this year Mediterranean Oil and Gas Plc (MOG) as a licence holder intends to explore for oil and gas in Block 4¸ 5¸ 6 and 7 of Area 4.

The show is now in its 11th year and attracts over 2¸500 attendees as it  gives investors unique insights on country specific opportunities. PKF will be inviting interested parties ¸ officials of MRA and  Enemalta representatives in the oil procurement division to participate and actively contribute to the development of the industry. The battle cry is – can Malta become a potential oil and gas hub   (joining Cyprus¸ Sicily¸ Tunisia ¸Morocco etc ) and in the medium term reap dividends from production sharing agreements once oil or gas is found in commercial quantities .During this  recessionary period that is gripping most  European countries any extra tax revenue from any such windfalls can ideally be placed aside in a special fund to honour our commitment to  reduce  recurring annual financial deficits and render our budgets in surplus .That will sign