In this regard, the wholly owned affiliate of Exxon Mobil has inked a production sharing contract with the government of Equatorial Guinea. The deal was signed through direct negotiations between the concerned parties.

Located 36miles west of Malabo, the deepwater block termed as EG-11 is about 307,000 acres.

Equatorial Guinea Mines and Hydrocarbons Minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima said: “Equatorial Guinea and ExxonMobil have forged a partnership that, since the mid 1990’s, has transformed our country.

“Block EG-11 is the jewel among a group of already very prospective blocks that we are signing in 2017. ExxonMobil is an important, trusted partner and we are excited to build on this already great relationship.”

Exxon Mobil will be the operator of EG-11 with a working interest of 80%. The remainder stake of 20% is held by GEPetrol after ratification of the contract by the Equatorial Guinea government.

ExxonMobil Exploration president Steve Greenlee said: “We look forward to building on our more than 20-year history of safe operations in Equatorial Guinea with this new high-quality exploration opportunity.

“We are excited to add block EG-11 to our leading global deepwater acreage position and to expand the value of our important business in Equatorial Guinea.”

As per Exxon Mobil, the contract also has a condition to acquire new and reprocess presently available 3-D seismic data.

EG-11 is located in close proximity to the 1.1-billion-barrel Zafiro oil field in Block B. The Zafiro field is operated by another Exxon Mobil affiliate Mobil Equatorial Guinea which has 71.25% stake alongside partners GEPetrol which has 23.75% stake and Equatorial Guinea which has 5% interest.

EG-11 is also near another block EG-06 where ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Equatorial Guinea (Offshore) hold an 80% stake.