Blocks A2 & A5
Block A2 & A5 were first licensed in 2012 to Erin Energy Gambia Ltd and in 2017, they farmed-out to FAR Gambia Ltd with 80% participating interest in both blocks and transferred operatorship. In 2018, Far Gambia Ltd also farmed-out to PETRONAS with a participating interest of 40% in both blocks.
In May 2018 Erin Energy Gambia Ltd, the parent company of one of the Joint Venture partners (FAR & PETRONAS) on the A2 and A5 licenses, filed for bankruptcy protection. This unforeseen event created uncertainty for the licenses and required extensive engagement between the JV-partners (FAR & PETRONAS) and Government. It culminated into the termination of the licenses intended to affect only Erin and the subsequent restatement for FAR and PETRONAS and by the end of 2018, the JV-partners drill a well (samo-1 well) which was not a successful well (dry hole). However, oil shows were encountered in some levels indicating that the area has access to an active hydrocarbon charge system. The well also drilled through the excellent reservoir and seal facies.
Following months of renegotiations and consideration of different options, the JV- partners FAR Gambia Ltd and PETRONAS agreed on improved and revised license terms with a participating interest of 50% each, which was signed on the 26th September 2019.
The JV-partners continues to implement their work programs and budget commitment but due to COVID-19 pandemic some of their major activities are currently put on hold especially the planned drilling of an exploration well this year 2020 has been rescheduled to the next year 2021.
Block A1 together with block A4 were first licensed in 2006 to Buried Hill BV (later became African Petroleum Corporation Ltd), amended two times. The license was later assigned to African Petroleum Gambia Limited (APGL) under whom it was terminated in 2012 and reinstated in 2014. One of the key conditions for that reinstatement was for the company to drill one exploration well before 1st September 2016 and if the Company fails to drill a well, there shall be no further extension of the Licenses and both Licenses shall be terminated.
They failed to drill and requested for an extension, which was refused and hence the Government considers APGL License expired with no intention of further extension.
APGL file for arbitration at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) In the UK and the process is still ongoing.
The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has included the said blocks in the past 2017 Licensing round. However, BP’s offer on Block A1 compares favourably with previous licenses and what prevails in the region and therefore, Block A1 in April 2019 was Licensed to BP Exploration (Gambia) Ltd (BP).
BP continues to implement their work programs and budget commitment but due to COVID-19 pandemic, some of their major activities are delayed making the planned drilling of an exploration well this year 2020 been rescheduled to the next year 2021.