Where is our oil?

Jul 9, 2024, 12:00 PM | Article By: D M. Badjie Political Scientist / Commentator

It has been proven geologically and scientifically that the whole of Africa has mineral and Natural resources. If this is the case then where are the Gambia’s resources including oil.

There must be a reason why international oil companies have been coming in and out of the country for many years. Companies such as Burill Hills, FAR, African Petroleum, BP, Oranto Oil, etc have all engaged the country on offshore and onshore oil prospects. It has been revealed that there is the potential for offshore oil blocks A2, A3, A4, A5 etc which could make The Gambia an oil producing country with big possibilities for economic take off. The most pertinent questions for which many concerned citizens demand answers from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Affairs are; how many foreign oil companies obtained petroleum licenses from The Gambia Government. It is known that the African Petroleum Company of Frank Timis was granted License for offshore oil fields by the former government. It has been said and known that when that government terminated the license of the said company, the Company sued the country in international court and claimed millions of dollars for breach of contract. Is the Ministry of Petroleum Affairs in a position to deny this story. It will be of public interest for the facts to come out. Later, when the Jammeh government left, the African Petroleum delegation and BP visited the country to sort out the issue with the authorities in Banjul. The said visit took place soon after the national rancor in Senegal over the oil deal between Frank Timis Petrogas and the former government which was said to be tainted with undercover transactions. The question therefore, is how was the African Petroleum legal suit against The Gambia resolved. Many in the public are waiting to know the facts of this case. The other pertinent question for which Gambians need to know is whether BP was issued Petroleum license by the government and for which offshore oil blocks. It was widely speculated that there is a lucrative portion of the country’s offshore oil field very close to where Senegal discovered oil fields. The public would like to know what is the state of the said portion that was said to be in Gambian waters. One may wish to ask whether right now, there is any Oil company in petroleum operations in the country. The country’s oil potential has been under the international radar and economic intelligence for sometime now. It is only fair that the true picture of the possibilities of oil be known to the people of this country. The Ministry of Petroleum Affairs is expected to take the lead in these important resources in the public interest. Gambians should not be made to believe that we have a pretentious Ministry of Petroleum Affairs. Information outside the Ministry could send mixed signals to the public. The promise to the Nation is Mansa Kunda dialogue.