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VENTURES AFRICA – The Gambian government has seized the exploration, development and production licenses of three oil firms for failing to meet their licence contractual obligations as provided by its petroleum laws.
Firms affected include West Africa-focused African Petroleum Gambia Limited, its partner Buried Hill Gambia B.V. and Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum Limited.
African Petroleum and its partner lost the offshore blocks A1 and A4 while Oranto lost its Lower River onshore block.
“These licenses have been terminated with immediate effect. The Gambia government will not allow any institution to acquire licenses only to keep them for speculation,” a statement released by the president’s office said.
“In our bid to harness our natural resources for the benefit of Gambians, we are not going to deal with speculators,” it said.
Gambia, a country of about 1.8 million people, which exempted itself from the Commonwealth of Nations last year, on the basis that the organisation represented an extension of colonialism, believes that it sits on large quantities of oil.
The West African nation has however not produced any oil yet despite decades of exploration by a number of companies, a Reuters report indicated.