Petroleum Ministry to allow shortlisted bidders submit request

Friday, May 04, 2018

Petroleum and Energy Minister Fafa Sanyang has told the Upstream Global Oil and Gas News Source that his ministry’s website will soon be updated to allow shortlisted bidders to submit requests for proposals as the licencing process enters its second phase.

The government would then decide on the successful bidders by mid of this year with the likelihood of awarding PCSs in the subsequent months.

The deadline for companies to submit request for information on specified blocks was extended from Jan. 10, 2018 to Feb. 18, 2018, delaying request for proposals.

Eleven companies have been shortlisted including France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and two affiliates of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). Australian juniors Far Ltd. and Talon Petroleum, U.K.-based Impact Oil and Gas, Sweden Svenska Petroleum and a joint venture of U.K.-based Tullow Oil and Australia’s Woodside Energy are also shortlisted.

Offer acreage include two on shore licenses A3 and A6 and deep licenses A1 and A4 that are currently claimed by Oslo listed African Petroleum (APCL).

According to government sources, A1 and A4 blocks are subjected to arbitration proceedings at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment, disputes will be given back to the company, to avoid lengthy and costly arbitration.

A government statement issued last week stipulates that 22 companies have expressed interest in offshore oil blocks making it easy to foresee many potential partnership and farm outs.

It is also reported in Africaintelligence.com that the hired Alexander Sarac from the British law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner no longer have any assignments with Gambia’s Petroleum Ministry.

Our source indicated that the Petroleum and Energy minister is concern about the potential fallout from the same arbitration against APCL over blocks A1 and A4. It further added that African Petroleum had been stripped of the permits of A1 and A4 situated south of Senegalese discoveries SNE and FAN (Operated by Cairn Energy) by the current government in early 2017.

Considering the possibility of what the blocks represent, African Petroleum would not concede easily and The Gambia government may find itself hit with a heavy fine if it loses the arbitration case.

Author: Momodou Jawo