By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambia Government has through its spokesperson, Ebrima Sankaraeh, issued a press release announcing that following successful discussions, the British Petroleum (BP) has amicably settled some D1.5 billion being its outstanding commitment to drill an exploration well in the Gambia.
The government said on the 30th April 2019, The Gambia Government entered into a Petroleum Exploration Development and Production License Agreement with BP. Per this agreement, BP was obliged to drill the A1 block effective the 30th day of July 2019.
According to the government, this was for an initial exploration period of 2 years, ending 29thJuly 2021.
“BP’s obligations during this period included the acquisition and reprocessing of 2D and 3D seismic data, conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment and drilling one exploration well,” said the government.
The government also said that the latter is the only outstanding obligation to date. Early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic struck, causing a drastic change in the Global Oil and Gas industry and leading BP to suspend plans to drill as earlier planned- by the end of 2020.
However, it stated that in July 2020, BP informed the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy that it would not be able to drill a well in the A1 Block due to a change in its corporate strategy towards low carbon energy.
“In accordance with the license terms, if there are unfulfilled obligations, BP will be obligated to pay to Government the difference between the agreed work commitment and the performed work commitment”, said the government.
Consequently, the government said BP undertook the outstanding amounts of 1.5 billion dalasi as well as the balances of Training, Resources and Rentals due to The Gambia Government.
Therefore, the government said the BP has fulfilled all its license obligations and A1 Block will revert to the government for free of all encumbrances. With BP’s exit, the A1 Block will now be on the market for licensing.
“The Gambia Government wishes to thank BP for their collaboration in amicably settling the matter and hopes to work with them in future. The government expresses thanks to the staff of Gambia Petroleum Ministry, Commission and GNPC, the Ministries of Justice and Finance, as well as their partners, such as the African Legal Support Facility and Consortium of Consultants (Addleshaw Goddard, DLA Pipers, Open Oil and Ric Weighman) for the supports,” the release stated.