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African Petroleum Reshuffles West Africa Strategy

Oil E&P African Petroleum allowed the exclusivity of its offshore exploration contract with Gambia and Senegal to lapse in order to pursue future involvement in the area’s development, according to a new report by UPI.

The regional company seeks a corporate partner to continue its work in Senegalese waters and plans to negotiate a new exploration deal with the Gambian government.

Two blocks off the coast Gambia could hold as many as one billion barrels of oil. Senegal’s underwater reserves could equal 1.5 billion barrels, according to FAR Ltd., an Australian company that quickly became active in the region after the discovery of oil and gas reserves.

In Senegal, FAR is working with larger players including Woodside Petroleum and Cairn Energy, and in Gambia it acquired an 80-percent interest in several offshore blocks. The firm also announced a new partnership with China’s CNOOC in its West African operations earlier this year.

African Petroleum has been in negotiations with Banjul to resolve contractual disputes that had been stifling exploration efforts in the country’s blocks. Talks are headed in a positive direction, a recent statement suggested.

“Further to the meeting with the president and subsequent dialogue, it is the understanding of the management team that the government is considering the company's proposal regarding the licenses and it is anticipated that the company will receive formal feedback and clarity on the situation from the government in early August 2017," it read.

“I think the fact that we were granted an audience with the president highlights that the significant investment made by the company in these licenses is recognized by the Gambian government and we hope that sense will prevail in finding a way forward," CEO Jens Pace added within the statement.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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