Gambia’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy reports that BP has exited offshore Block A1. Block A1 block is one of two (Blocks A1 and A4) that the Gambian government stripped from Norwegian-listed African Petroleum Corp in 2017, saying the licences had expired and that the company had failed to meet contractual obligations. Block A1 was awarded to BP in April 2019.
The Licence became effective on the 30th day of July 2019 with an initial exploration period of 2 years ending 29th July 2021. BP’s obligations during this period included the requirements, amongst others, to acquire and reprocess 2D and 3D seismic data, conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment and drill one exploration well. BP acquired and reprocessed 2D and 3D data and conducted of an Environmental Impact Assessment. However, the commitment to drill an exploration well remained outstanding and in July 2020 BP informed the Ministry that it would not be able to drill a well in the A1 Block due to a change in its corporate strategy towards low carbon energy.
In accordance with the licence terms, if there are unfulfilled obligations, BP is obligated to pay to Government the difference between the agreed work commitment and the performed work commitment. Consequently, BP has agreed to pay to the Government the relevant outstanding amounts as well as the balances of Training and Resources and Rentals due to Government. The Ministry has indicated that, with BP’s exit, the A1 Block is now available for licensing.