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The Gambian government announced on Tuesday that BP (BP. L) has agreed to settle a $29.3 million outstanding commitment to drill an exploratory oil well in the offshore A1 block of the West African country, which the corporation was awarded two years ago. In a release, government spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh said that BP violated its responsibilities by failing to dig a well before the original exploratory time ended on July 29th.
An email seeking comment from BP was not immediately returned, and the company cannot be contacted by phone. “In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, causing a drastic change in the global oil and gas industry and leading BP to suspend plans to drill as earlier planned,” Sankareh said.
BP informed the government in July 2020 that “it would not be able to drill a well in the A1 Block due to a change in its business strategy towards low carbon energy,” adding that the block will be put on the market for licensing.
BP’s acquisition in the Gambia came after a $1 billion investment in offshore Senegal and Mauritania gas reserves in 2016, which included plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant to export West African gas globally.