August 13, 2021

© Oleksii / Adobe Stock

© Oleksii / Adobe Stock

The Gambia’s A1 offshore block is back on the market for licensing, the petroleum ministry said on Thursday, three days after BP agreed to a $29.3 million settlement for failing to meet its drilling obligations there.

The British oil major violated its licence agreement by failing to drill a well before the initial exploration period expired on July 29, but Tuesday’s settlement fulfilled its outstanding obligations, the petroleum ministry said in a statement.

Contacted by Reuters on Friday, BP had no immediate comment.

“The A1 Block will revert to government free of all encumbrances,” the statement said. “With BP’s exit, the A1 Block will now be on the market for licensing.”

BP was awarded the block’s exploration rights in 2019, after Gambian authorities stripped the concession from its previous holder for also failing to meet certain obligations before the exploration period expired.

 (Reporting by Cooper Inveen; additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in London; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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