By Charné Hundermark, Southern and East Africa Editor
The Gambia is aggressively pursuing both on- and offshore hydrocarbon exploration, with the active presence of notable regional and international oil companies driving progress, with its newly adopted National Development Plan – which was implemented in 2018 – is positioning the country’s oil and gas sector as a critical enabler of development.
The Gambia is focused on mirroring the exploratory success seen in neighboring MSGBC countries such as Senegal and Mauritania, and is, therefore, opting for the rapid increase in upstream activities. The country has two onshore blocks and four offshore blocks currently being explored by international oil companies (IOCS). These companies are driving the country’s energy sector development and demonstrating a commitment to the immense hydrocarbon potential the Gambia could hold.
With the country experiencing relatively slow upstream exploration and production over the years, and a renewed focus on accelerating energy sector development and enhancing socio-economic growth, The Gambia is looking to regional stakeholders and foreign investors to help drive progress. Accordingly, the upcoming MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2021 conference and exhibition is the leading platform whereby representatives from The Gambia will be able to network with global energy stakeholders, establishing partnerships that will enhance sectoral activities. Covering the entire MSGBC region, the conference is committed to promoting regional investment opportunities, placing frontier basins, such as those in The Gambia, at the center of the event’s agenda.
Africa Petroleum Corporation Takes the Lead in Offshore Exploration
Independent oil and gas company African Petroleum Corporation has been driving exploration in The Gambia for several years, with offshore license interests in Block A1 and A4. The exploration-focused firm held the license for both blocks until 2017, with Block A4 being reinstated to the company in September 2020. 3D seismic data over both blocks in December 2010, led by Africa Oil Corporation, revealed more than 30 exploration prospects, warranting the rapid increase in exploration activities. In 2019, the company announced that the previous surveys undertaken within the two blocks revealed hydrocarbon potential of up to 3 billion barrels of oil.
Africa Oil Corporation has worked both independently and collaboratively to enhance exploration in The Gambia. The company partnered with PetroNor to expand upstream activities, with a merger taking place between the two companies in August 2019. The new entity, with recently reinstated rights in Block A4, is committed to the potential The Gambia’s offshore prospects could hold.
FAR Limited Reveals Significant Hydrocarbon Potential Offshore Gambia
In addition to exploration undertaken by Africa Petroleum Corporation/PetroNor in Blocks A1 and A4, Australian-based independent oil and gas company, FAR Limited, has been successfully exploring The Gambia’s offshore A2 and A5 Blocks since acquiring a working interest and operatorship in 2017. Located adjacent to the world class Sangomar Field in Senegal, exploratory surveying in Blocks A2 and A5 have revealed the potential of over 1 billion barrels of oil. Consequently, FAR has accelerated development, with preparations underway to drill the Bambo-1 well in block A2 in late 2021.
With a commitment to explore the resource-rich basins of the MSGBC region, FAR has taken a proactive approach in driving The Gambia’s frontier energy campaign. The company drilled The Gambia’s first well in over 40 years as well as the first-ever deep water well – the Samo-1 well. Using renewed prospectivity, seismic reprocessing and new 3D acquisition as a key driver of exploration, FAR is driving hydrocarbon development in the country.
A Dedicated National Oil Company
Meanwhile, notwithstanding the activities undertaken by IOCs in The Gambia, the country’s national oil company (NOC), Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC) has been committed to ensuring maximum benefits from the country’s hydrocarbon resources. In anticipation of the country’s hydrocarbon discoveries, GNPC has announced that it is training with Malaysian national oil company, Petronas, to increase the capacity and skills of the company. With a mission to promote socio-economic development through efficient energy sector development, GNPC is committed to working alongside IOCs and regional NOCs to develop its promising oil and gas sector.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Energy Capital & Power.
In response to growing demand for renewable power, and increasing interest by international stakeholders to invest, develop, and succeed in Africa, Energy Capital & Power will hold the MSGBC Oil, Gas, & Power 2021 (https://bit.ly/3kQYPCr) conference and exhibition on the 1-3 December 2021. Focused on enhancing regional partnerships, spurring investment and development in the oil, gas and power sectors, the conference will unite regional international stakeholders with African opportunities, serving as a growth-oriented platform for Africa’s energy sector.
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