Bad news for African Petroleum out of Gambia, according to reports the government has ended negotiations to extend the oil firm’s exploration of offshore Blocks A1 and A4. A Reuters report said that the government is now in talks with new investors.
African Petroleum maintains that talks have not been terminated and on July 4 said the terms for Blocks A1 and A4 remain active until Gambia initiates the termination procedure. “No such termination procedure has been enacted by the state and African Petroleum therefore reserves its legal rights over the licenses,” it said.
The company’s exploration term for both blocks expired in September 2016 and African Petroleum had been seeking to prolong the term and toward that end met with President Adama Barrow, who replaced long-ruling leader Yahya Jammeh in January.
“African Petroleum has failed a number of times in meeting their commitments. They asked for an extension and we declined,” Mod K. Ceesay, permanent secretary for petroleum at Gambia’s oil ministry said in an interview with Reuters. “We indicated our position to them. There are no ongoing negotiations between us and African Petroleum,” he added.
In response to the Reuters article, African Petroleum issued the following statement “The Board of African Petroleum notes the article published on Reuters today regarding its A1 and A4 licenses in The Gambia. The Board of African Petroleum maintains that the comments assigned to a Gambian official stating that our ownership of the licenses has expired is wrong both in law and in fact. The Board states categorically that the licenses have not been terminated in accordance with the terms of the licenses, nor have they expired.
As previously communicated to stakeholders, the terms of the licenses state that the licenses remain active unless and until a termination procedure is enacted by the State. No such termination procedure has been enacted by the State and African Petroleum therefore reserves its legal rights over the licenses.
The company has invested over $64 million in The Gambia under the licenses, has undertaken extensive technical analysis of the oil resources, and remains committed to the exploration and development of the licensed areas.
Source: Petroleum Africa