Barrow: FAR-PETRONAS oil drilling scheduled for 2021

Sep 10, 2021, 12:33 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham & Adama Tine

President Adama Barrow yesterday revealed in his State of the Nation’s address that the drilling component of FAR-PETRONAS is now scheduled for 2021.

Speaking at the National Assembly, Barrow stated that British Petroleum (BP) announced a significant policy shift of reducing their exploration activities worldwide. He added that his government has reached a settlement with BP for their work plan commitments in Block A. 

“Based on this, 30.25 million U.S. Dollars has been paid to the Government as compensation for not fulfilling their obligation to drill a well per the licence agreement. BP is expected also to settle the outstanding rental fees and contributions to the Training and Resource Fund. With these settlements from BP, Block A1 is back on the market for licencing to interested investors”.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, President Barrow further reiterated that the electricity sub-sector registered tremendous improvements in production capacity, while adding that the power rental agreement with KARPOWER and the completion of the 11 megawatts Kotu expansion project have remarkably boosted NAWEC's ability to operate.

He continued that through NAWEC, his government has secured a concessional loan of US$22.5 million from the Indian line of credit for the Electricity Expansion and Rehabilitation Project in the Greater Banjul Area.

“The electricity expansion project was completed and inaugurated in November 2020 in Kwinella. It provides electricity to over 80 communities in Kiang and the Greater Banjul Area. Early February 2021, the 20 megawatts IDB funded project was inaugurated in Brikama.”

The president highlighted that the entire North Bank Region (NBR) and parts of the Lower River Region (LRR) now enjoy a stable electricity supply. As part of the final phase of the Rural Electricity Expansion Project, Barrow continued that NAWEC has finally linked the Bansang and Basse sub-systems.

In continuation, the head of the state further buttressed that the recent commissioning of a new 2.7 megawatts engine has centralised supplies in Basse, saying the capacity for that region now stands above 5 megawatts.

“Under the World Bank-supported electricity access project, ECOREAP, 171 communities will be connected to the network. In the same vein, under the African Development Bank-supported project, about 59 rural and peri-urban communities will have access to electricity.”

The president said NAWEC has successfully utilised funds acquired from the Indian line of credit to increase water production and replace 144 kilometers of asbestos pipes throughout the country.

He said Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC) has launched its renewable energy project, adding that the project is aligned with the National Renewable Energy Policy for various services, mainly for rural settlements.

“To sum up, the National Oil Company has already acquired about $209,268 from the UNIDO/GEF Five Project to implement a 455.6 KWP solar system project. All these will make a massive difference in the country.”