(JollofNews) – Gambia’s Information Minister Wednesday debunked claims made by African Petroleum Corp, suggesting they still have exploration rights on two offshore blocks.
“Their license has expired, and government did not renew it,” Information Minister Demba Ali Jawo told Jollofnews in reaction to news reports indicating that the oil giant is seeking arbitration on Gambia oil dispute.
Over these past months, the oil company and Gambian authorities are at loggerheads over offshore oil drilling rights. While Gambia has made it clear that their 7-year license period for exploration has ended,
the oil company continues to push for their rights to be recognized on blocks A1 and A4.
Minister Jawo expressed surprise at the latest move taken by the oil exploration company, and clearly stated he aid he doesn’t understand why they are taking legal action. “As far as I know, they have no
license. So, they cannot operate in the country. The license they held expired,” he reiterated.
Licenses have already been granted for blocks A2 and A5 acquired by FAR Ltd and Erin Energy.
Last week, the spokesperson of the presidency Amie Bojang Sissoho told reporters that bidding is still open for the remaing six blocks including A1 and A4.
West Africa’s coastline is increasingly becoming a battleground for oil exploration, and Gambia has been at the center of test drilling in the sub-region. The expiration of licenses granted to African Petroleum seems to have opened huge opportunities for new comers eying for big deal.