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Government Signs Oil Exploration Deal with BP

The government has announced the official licensing of Offshore Block A1 to BP Exploration (Gambia) Ltd, a subsidiary of BP Exploration Operating Company Limited.

A short statement from the presidency Tuesday said BP representatives met with President Adama Barrow at State House but provided no further details about the deal.

A later statement from the Ministry of Petroleum & Energy said the license provided the necessary legal framework for the Exploration of the A1 acreage, the eventual development of fields (upon the discovery of hydrocarbons) and the ultimate production of Oil and/or Gas from Block A1.

According to the statement, the License was signed Tuesday by the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Fafa Sanyang, and witnessed by key government stakeholders and the executive delegation from the British Petroleum (BP) Company.

“This monumental achievement represents one of the most historic and valuable agreements our country has entered into since independence and has the realistic potential to positively transform our country and bring out significant transformative economic development pending the discovery of hydrocarbons and the efficient management of such discoveries,” the statement said.

“The Agreement is the culmination of years of work and the application of best industry practices through a most transparent process with the involvement of all the key industry stakeholders across government,” it added.

According to officials, Licence area blocks A1 and A4 possibly contain up to 3 billion barrels of oil partly due to their close proximity to licences in neighbouring Senegal where big discoveries have been made.

The BP deal comes almost a year after the Barrow administration stripped off African Petroleum Corp, a Norwegian-listed company founded by Australian-Romanian billionaire Frank Timis, of its rights to explore for oil in blocks A1 and A4.

The Petroleum and Energy Minister Sanyang said the provisions in the license would ensure that petroleum operations were undertaken in The Gambia in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable and responsible manner.

Gambia’s Petroleum House

“The just concluded process has seen the review and continuous improvement of legal instruments connected to the Petroleum Sector and the adoption of a Model Petroleum Exploration and Production License Agreement which will ensure the protection of our resources, open new opportunities for domestic representation, as guided by our policy objectives, promote the involvement of local Gambian individuals, businesses and companies in upstream investment opportunities to ensure that The Gambia obtains the greatest possible benefits from the petroleum resources, develop our national capabilities in all aspects of the petroleum industry and obtain effective transfer of appropriate technology and skills related to upstream petroleum operations”.

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