Orca Exploration Group and its predecessor and associated companies have been involved in oil and gas projects in Africa for almost three decades.
In Tanzania, work to develop the Songo Songo field began in 1991 when an agreement was signed by Ocelot International Inc. with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TDPC). Songo Songo had been discovered in 1974 but remained undeveloped due to a lack of infrastructure to transport the gas as well as the need to develop markets. By 1991 demand for electricity in Tanzania was increasing and TDPC wanted to evaluate the economic viability of the field if it was developed primarily to provide fuel to generate electricity.
Ocelot conducted an extensive study of the geology, geophysics and productivity of the five wells that had already been drilled in the Songo Songo field. These studies confirmed that there was sufficient volumes of natural gas to supply fuel to a power generation project and a formal development plan was submitted in May 2001.
To bring Songo Songo into production and to build markets for natural gas sales in East Africa, new industrial partners were attracted to the project. This facilitated the financing of the project by a consortium of multi-lateral lending agencies led by the World Bank. As part of this Ocelot sold its power generation interests in the project to The AES Corporation, while retaining the rights to market additional reserves associated with the uncommitted gas in the Songo Songo field. Initially, the development of the field was focused primarily on meeting the needs of a single gas-to-electricity power plant (Ubungo) at Dar es Salaam. Gas production commenced in June 2004.
In August 2004 the Songo Songo assets were spun out as a separate company (EastCoast Energy Corporation). In November 2006 EastCoast Energy shareholders approved a name change to Orca Exploration Group Inc. and trading of the company shares on the TSXV as Orca Exploration commenced on 4 April 2007.
Gas volumes marketed by Orca in Tanzania have increased steadily since the start of production and by 2009 Additional Gas sales had reached 10.4 Bcf a year.
Orca has now expanded its focus beyond Tanzania. In May 2010 Orca farmed in on the drilling of a well in the Elsa oil field offshore Italy. Orca is also searching for at least one additional oil exploration opportunity in a low risk, high potential area with proven hydrocarbon reserves.