Gambia not yet an oil producing country - Energy Minister Clarifies

Oct 9, 2020, 11:02 AM | Article By: Sanna Jallow

The Minister of Petroleum and Energy on Thursday clarified that The Gambia is not yet an oil producing country, even though the country has a significant prospect in terms of oil and gas. 

Fafa Sanyang was speaking on Thursday during a virtual ministerial panel as part of events marking Africa Oil Week. The four-day event provides pioneering insights from ministerial panels to strategic outlook and session designed to drive investment into the African upstream. At the heart of the event is the exhibition where companies from across their sectors can exhibit what they have to showcase.

Minister Sanyang acknowledged that The Gambia is strategically located in the center of the Mauritania-Senegal, Gambia, Bissau and Conakry (MSGBC) Basin, adding that MSGBC, is one of the largest sedimentary basins in Africa which was formed as a result of the rafting and subsidence associated with the break-up of North American and African Super-continent.

"In terms of potential resources many now describe the MSGBC basin as one of the hottest spots in the world for oil and gas exploration, as the success rate of drilling in the Basin since 2014 has been phenomenal.”

The energy minister also highlighted the significant discoveries made in the Mauritania and Senegal basin, which he said, is already on the world oil map, due to their close proximity to areas where discoveries have been made in Senegal and Mauritania.

The exploration blocks in The Gambia, he went on, have striking similarities in their geological settings, which he added, means any exploration drilling in The Gambia is significantly derived.

 "The Gambia has six offshore blocks (A1 to A6), two onshore blocks and ultra-deep area, the ultra-deep area is yet to be demarcated. However, there are plans to conduct this demarcation in the near future.”

Minister Sanyang also hinted that The Gambia emerging petroleum industry has reached a critical and exciting phase in its development. Consequently, the energy minister added that the ministries with support of the Africa Development Bank through the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) have embarked on modernising the petroleum laws and regulations with a view to attracting foreign direct investment in the sector without compromising national interests.

"I am happy to inform you that the government of the Gambia entered into a settlement agreement with Petronas Gambia Limited.”