Tunisia is an established oil and gas producer with a successful history of production operations since 1966, when the first commercial discovery was put into production. 

The country benefits from a favourable regulatory regime which has attracted large, sustained investment from many foreign oil and gas production and exploration companies over many decades.

Recent economic and political reforms have further strengthened the country’s regulatory framework, enabling Tunisia to become one of the most attractive jurisdictions in Africa.

Sidi El Kilani Concession (SLK) and North Kairouan Permit

Zenith has conditionally acquired a cumulative 45% working interest in the North Kairouan permit and the Sidi El Kilani Concession, having signed conditional purchase agreements with KUFPEC (Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company K.S.C.C), a subsidiary of the State of Kuwait’s national oil company, and CNPC International (Tunisia) Ltd., to buy their respective working interests of 22.5%.

Completion of both acquisitions is conditional on approval being granted by the Comité Consultatif des Hydrocarbures of the Republic of Tunisia.


Area: 204 square kilometres, located onshore in the Pelagian Basin, eastern Tunisia, circa 190 km south of Tunis, in the Governorate of Mahdia.

SLK was discovered in May 1989 by KUFPEC, test production commenced in September 1991 and commercial production commenced in January 1993 with an average rate of 5,000 bopd from one well.

The field reached a peak production exceeding 20,000 boepd in 1995.

Sidi El Kilani is reported to be the second largest oil field discovered in Tunisia since 1989.

The field is presently operated by CTKCP (Compagnie Tuniso – Koweito Chinoise de Petrole) with the following participating partners: State of Tunisia National Oil Company, ETAP (55%), KUFPEC (22.5%) and CNPC (22.5%).

Current production output, solely at natural flow, is approximately 550 bopd.


SLK produces 39 API gravity oil from a fractured carbonate reservoir (Abiod Formation), at a depth of c. 1,600 metres. The reservoir characteristics are enhanced by natural fractures and locally by dolomitization. 


SLK Facilities include a permanent Gas Oil Separation Plant (GOSP) and a Pipeline of 125 km x 8” diameter, 22,000 bpd capacity from the field to La Skhira terminal.  Approximately 90% of the gas produced is used for on-site power generation with the rest being flared.

Development Potential

Current production mainly comes from 2 wells: SLK-1 and SLK-4. Well stimulation, optimisation and infill drilling have maintained production levels.

SLK has significantly outperformed production forecasts, sustaining production well beyond original expectations.

There are indications of oil present in the unexploited Bireno formation with plans proposed for the testing of its potential upside production potential.

Zenith expects to soon commission a new Competent Persons Report in compliance with Canadian securities laws, specifically the COGE Handbook and National Instrument 51-101  Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities, in order to obtain an updated reserves evaluation for SLK.

On March 15, 2021, Zenith announced that Zenith Energy Africa Limited (“ZEAL”), its newly incorporated fully owned subsidiary, has entered into a share purchase agreement (“SPA”) with Candax Energy Limited (“Candax”) for the acquisition of a 100 percent interest in Candaxs fully owned subsidiary in Barbados, Ecumed Petroleum Zarzis Ltd (“EPZ”) (the “Acquisition”), which holds a 45% interest in the Ezzaouia Concession (“Ezzaouia”).

Acquisition Highlights

Ezzaouia is located in onshore Tunisia on the Zarzis peninsula, south of the island of Djerba in the southern Gulf of Gabes. It was first discovered by Marathon Petroleum Corporation in 1986, with production activities starting in 1990 with a peak production being achieved of 35,000 barrels of oil per day in 1991.

Currently produces at a rate of approximately of 465 bopd (approximately 210 bopd net to Zenith). Ezzaouia produces an average of 40 API gravity oil from the Zebbag (Lower Cretaceous) and Mrabatine (Upper Jurassic) formations. Planned field production optimisation and workover activities are expected to increase Ezzaouia gross production to 1,000 bopd (potentially resulting in a production of 450 bopd net to Zenith).

It is operated by MARETAP, a joint operating company owned in partnership with the national oil company of Tunisia, ETAP (Entreprise Tunisienne dActivités Pétrolières) on a 50:50 basis, which holds a 55 percent interest in Ezzaouia.  MARETAP operates an oil storage terminal, connected to Ezzaouia by way of two pipelines (one for gas and one for oil respectively), at the port of Zarzis, with a storage capacity of approximately 200,000 barrels of oil, from which all oil production from Ezzaouia is exported to the international markets. Ezzaouia has modern oil treatment and storage facilities with a total field storage capacity of approximately 20,000 barrels of oil.

Zenith will commission a new Competent Persons Report in compliance with Canadian securities laws, specifically the COGE Handbook and National Instrument 51-101 Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities, in order to obtain an updated reserves evaluation for the Acquisition.

The Acquisition has certain development obligations during the course of the new 20-year concession including the drilling of a side-track, the drilling of a replacement well and that of a development well.

On April 19, 2019, the Tunisian State represented by the Ministry of Industry and Small & Medium Enterprises informed ETAP and EPZ that the Comité Consultatif des Hydrocarbures (“CCH”) had provided a favourable opinion to the application submitted by ETAP and EPZ for a new 20-year concession to be called “Ezzaouia” (the “New Concession”).

A Convention for the New Concession (the agreed work programme between ETAP and EPZ) has been signed by both parties.

The New Concession is currently awaiting parliamentary approval.