Gambia’s Information Minister has disclosed on Thursday that the West African nation will not be renewing the licenses of African Petroleum, which is still claiming exploration rights over two oil blocks.
African Petroleum is threatening to pursue legal action against the new government of Adama Barrow after the country’s oil minister, Fafa Sanyang said the Oslo-listed company failed to meet its obligations.
“African Petroleum’s license expired since September last year and the government will not be renewing it. That is what I know for now,” said Information Minister Demba Ali Jawo.
“In fact, issuing any license will depend on the energy needs of the country and we have opened up bids for exploration of the available oil blocks.”
The A1, A3, A4 and A6 are open for licensing, according to the government spokesperson, Amie Bojang-Sissohore. The A1 and A4 were explored by African Petroleum before their licenses expired.
Mod K. Ceesay, the Permanent Secretary at the Gambia’s oil ministry said African Petroleum has repeatedly asked for extensions, which were declined by the government.
The A1 and A4 oil blocks are adjacent to the offshore blocks in neighboring Senegal where large discoveries have been made by Erin Energy and FAR.
Gambia has given exploration rights to Erin and FAR exploration licenses and ceased all negotiations with African Petroleum, whose shares have been plummeting.
African Petroleum’s Chief Executive Officer Jens Pace had met President Barrow in hopes to have the decision of the government reversed but yield no positive results.