By Makutu Manneh
The Gambia Government through the Ministry of Energy on Saturday 19th September 2020, ended three years arbitration between the Gambia and African Petroleum.
During the event, Minister Fafa Sanyang also signed an A4 Licence with PetroNor. Oslo Axess is an independent oil and gas exploration Company.
This Arbitration was before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
African Petroleum’s dispute with the Gambia authorities related to the A1 and A4 offshore licences started in mid-2017 when the government said it had ended talks with the company for the extension of exploration right over these two blocks.
Prior to the alleged expiry and termination of licences, AP had a 100 percent operated working interest in offshore licences A1 and A4.
Arbitration is the hearing and determining of a dispute or the settling of differences between parties.
Gambia Oil Block A1 is licensed to British Petroleum (BP) in 2019, A2 and A5 oil is licenced to FAR Energy and PetroNors in 2019 and A4 is licensed to PetroNor in 2020.
“I am happy to announce that the three years of arbitration proceedings brought by African Petroleum against the Republic of The Gambia before an International Tribunal is being brought to an end,” Minister of Energe Fafa Sanyang said.
The Minister said he is pleased to announce that the settlement of the arbitration brings an end to all the Petroleum Licence disputes involving the Gambia.
He said the case is important to him and his staff not only because of their positions in the Ministry, but due to the fact that they were professionally involved in overseeing the Licence implementation over the past 14 years
On the signing of the A4 Licence with PetroNor, Minister of Justice Dawda A. Jallow said PetroNor has 12 months to fulfill the conditions precedent for the licence to be effective.
He said one of the conditions precedents include the requirement for PN to provide notice to the Gambia Government of its intention to continue the licence.
“If PN does not fulfill the conditions precedent within 12 months after the execution of the licence, the licence terminates and PN will relinquish all claims over the A4 Block”, Minister Dawda said.
He said these are favorable terms to the Gambia Government from a financial, legal and technical standpoint and that they have reached a mutually beneficial settlement and that the positive implication is lifting the cloud of uncertainty that hung over the process as a result of the arbitration.
“The people at PertroNor are very committed in working with the Gambia on this licence. We look forward for working with you for the next 30 years,” Eyas Alhomouz Chairman of PetroNor said.