African Petroleum refutes Gambian license expiry once again

Independent oil and gas company African Petroleum (AP) has refuted media claims that its Gambian offshore licenses have expired and are up for grabs for interested parties.

According to Premium Times, The Gambia’s presidential spokesperson, Amie Bojang, told the media that African Petroleum’s rights to explore in two offshore Gambian oil blocks have expired and are currently “open for licensing.”

African Petroleum, in its opinion, holds a 100 percent operated working interest in offshore licenses A1 and A4 in The Gambia.

This is not the first time AP reacted to media reports regarding the two licenses. Reports emerged in early July that the Gambian government ended talks with AP for the extension of exploration rights for the two offshore blocks while looking for new investors.

At the time, AP said the licenses were not terminated nor had they expired. Since then, the company has been trying to resolve the situation in the country.

The company expected to receive some clarity on the Gambian situation by early August. However, AP stated last Monday that it continued to await feedback from the government of The Gambia on its proposal to enter into the next phase of the licenses and transfer the outstanding well commitment into the new phase.

According to AP, the licenses are reported to have been discussed at a government cabinet meeting held on August 10, 2017.

African Petroleum said on Monday that it was yet to receive any formal feedback from the Gambian authorities regarding the status of its licenses.

The company addressed the reports in local press articles that the licenses have expired and were open acreage by saying: “The management feels it appropriate to firmly reiterate, once again, that this is misleading and incorrect in both law and fact.

“African Petroleum has not received formal notification initiating the termination process as detailed in the licenses, and therefore retains its rights under the A1 and A4 licenses.”

AP added it was continuing to seek a positive dialogue in the coming weeks. “The company is currently undertaking necessary legal preparations to utilize the dispute resolution provisions of the licenses to protect African Petroleum’s legal rights regarding the licenses and will formally initiate this process in early September unless formal positive feedback is forthcoming by the end of August,” said AP.

Regarding the situation, CEO Jens Pace said: “It is frustrating to be in a position where we feel it necessary to issue updates to the market on account of unconfirmed local media reports.

“We were given guidance by the President of The Gambia that formal feedback would be provided to the company following cabinet level discussions and so we remain hopeful that this will be forthcoming. I reassure our shareholders that we, after taking external legal advice, are very confident of our legal position in terms of these licenses.

“We are therefore taking the appropriate measures to ensure we move swiftly to protect our rights on these licenses should we not receive formal feedback by the end of the month, or should that feedback not be in line with our expectations.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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