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GAMBIA UNVEILS 2022 LICENSING ROUND FOR BLOCK A1

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has announced the launch of the 2022 Licensing Round for Block A1.Prospective bidders are invited to download the Request for Proposal (RFP) which has been published on the Ministry’s website.https://www.mope.gm/downloads. This is set out in Annex 2 of the RFP and published on the Ministry’s website to GambiaLR@aglaw.com, and the Director General jrosemax@gmail.com, at least 6 weeks prior to the Proposal Deadline.

To be eligible to participate in the RFP, Bidders are required to register their interest with the Petroleum Commission by sending a completed Form A – Registration Letter (set out in Annex 2 of the RFP and published on the Ministry’s website) to GambiaLR@aglaw.com, and the Director General jrosemax@gmail.com, at least 6 weeks prior to the Proposal Deadline.

The Commission has prepared an online data room, the E-Bid Platform, where Bidders may download the RFP, relevant legislation, the Model PEPLA, as well as various other documents that may assist in the preparation of their Proposal.

Once the Bidder has registered its interest with the Commission using Form A – Registration Letter (Annex 2 of the RFP), the Bidder will receive an automatically generated email with instructions on how to access the E-Bid Platform, including how to set up a user name and password.

Note that registering as a Bidder and obtaining access to the E-Bid Platform, does not bind the entity to participate in the Licensing Round.

The proposal deadline is the 6 June 2022, with electronic submission through the E-Bid Platform.

Granted initially to BP in 2019, Block A1 became available in August 2021 after the company exited the block. This was part of BP’s company strategy to pivot from producing resources to integrating energy. During its time as licensee BP performed the required work obligations, including reprocessing 2D and 3D data, conducting geohazard, geology and geophysical studies, and progressed the block so that it is now drill ready. The 2D and 3D BP reprocessed data is available for licence from TGS, at extremely competitive rates (entry level purchase price 10,000 USD). Additional reports and other data in relation to the block will also be made available free of charge to bidders.

Blocks A1

Block A1 together with block A4 were first licensed in 2006 to Buried Hill BV (later became African Petroleum Corporation Ltd), amended two times. The license was later assigned to African Petroleum Gambia Limited (APGL) under whom it was terminated in 2012 and reinstated in 2014. One of the key conditions for that reinstatement was for the company to drill one exploration well before 1st September 2016 and if the Company fails to drill a well, there shall be no further extension of the Licenses and both Licenses shall be terminated.

They failed to drill and requested for an extension, which was refused and hence the Government considers APGL License expired with no intention of further extension.

APGL file for arbitration at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) In the UK and the process is still ongoing.

The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has included the said blocks in the past 2017 Licensing round. However, BP’s offer on Block A1 compares favourably with previous licenses and what prevails in the region and therefore, Block A1 in April 2019 was Licensed to BP Exploration (Gambia) Ltd (BP).

BP continues to implement their work programs and budget commitment but due to COVID-19 pandemic, some of their major activities are delayed making the planned drilling of an exploration well this year 2020 been rescheduled to the next year 2021.

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