The Gambian government announced that it has signed a contract with BP to explore oil and gas off its coast.
Fafa Sanyang, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy said BP’s first move will be to carry out an environmental impact assessment at the A1 offshore block. He said “after all that they will work on a two-year programme for drilling. After a specific time, they will work on the financial terms”.
The A1 block was one of two that President Adama Barrow’s government stripped from Norwegian-listed African Petroleum Corporation in 2017, saying the licenses had expired.
The African Petroleum Corporation disputed the decision and launched arbitration proceedings in October 2017. No resolution has been announced in the case.
The two blocks are thought to contain up to 3 billion barrels of oil and lie next to licences in neighbouring Senegal, where big discoveries have been made.
As a way of reviving an economy gutted by more than two decades of autocratic rule under former President Yahya Jammeh, Barrow’s government is trying to build up Gambia’s oil and gas sector.