Talks have been held by Wessex Exploration over extending a licence area covering the Mozambique Channel area off the East coast of Africa.

After completing preliminary interpretation work on reprocessed seismic data in the Juan de Nova Est licence area, Wessex says there is evidence of possible deepwater turbidite sands in the far north and south of the permit area, in water depths up to 1,500 metres (4,920 feet) and it has initiated talks with French authorities which have jurisdiction over the Juan de Nova Est area, over extending the licence.

At the same time Wessex is conducting a farm-out campaign for the licence, and it says a number of oil majors have signed confidentiality agreements to study licence data, indicating the level of interest in the region.

Wessex holds 70% of the Juan de Nova Est permit, which covers 9,010 square kilometres in the Mozambique Channel, north-west from Madagascar, and near the tropical island of Juan de Nova.

“The recent seismic interpretation carried out by the project partners will assist in farm-out discussions,” Wessex signalled today in an operational update. “We are also considering the acquisition of a limited 2D seismic programme over the two areas of interest delineated by the recent interpretation.”

Discussions have been held about the exploration work programme for the area, and, regarding the talks over a licence extension, Wessex adds: “We have discussed the possible extension of the Juan de Nova licence beyond the expiration of the initial period in December 2013.”