(JollofNews) – Gambia’s Information Minister Demba Ali Jawo has debunked claims made by the CEO of Africa Petroleum, Jens Pace, that they still have exploration rights on blocks A1 and A4, saying their seven-year license exceeded.
“What happened with Africa Petroleum is they had a license, and it has expired,” the government spokesperson told journalists at a press conference on Thursday.
Following a statement last week by Gambia’s presidency that blocks A1 and A4 are open for bidders, Africa Petroleum boss Jens Pace told Gambia news site Freedomnewspaper.com that the company “has not received formal notification initiating the termination process as detailed in the licenses, and therefore retains its rights under the A1 and A4 licenses.”
But Jawo said the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum has decided not to renew the license.
“As long as they have no license, I cannot imagine them operating in the country,” he emphasized.
“No license, no operation.”
Meanwhile, the presidency has made it clear that licenses for blocks A2 and A5 were acquired by FAR Ltd and Erin Energy for offshore test drilling, leaving four other remaining (A1, A3, A4 and A6) entirely open for bidding.
The tiny West African nation’s coastline has been identified by many companies as a new battleground for oil exploration. A situation that seems to have raised big hopes for the country’s future as Gambians are yet to recover from 22 years of dictatorship by the Jammeh regime.