Africa Oil & Gas: African Petroleum Claims Rights Over Senegal Block Bought By Total

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Total said that it had signed a deal for the Rufisque Offshore Profond block, in which it will be the operator with a 90 percent interest

Oslo-listed independent oil and gas producer African Petroleum said on Wednesday that it still holds 90 percent in a block offshore Senegal, for which France’s oil major Total SA signed an exploration and production sharing contract the day before.

On Tuesday, Total said that it had signed a deal for the Rufisque Offshore Profond block, in which it will be the operator with a 90 percent interest, with state firm Société Nationale des Pétroles du Sénégal (Petrosen) holding the remaining 10 percent.

Now African Petroleum reiterates its position that it owns 90 percent of the Rufisque Offshore Profond (ROP) production sharing contract, potentially setting the stage to a legal battle.

“Under the terms of the ROP PSC, the block remains active unless and until a termination procedure is enacted by the Republic of Senegal. To date, the Republic of Senegal has not validly enacted such termination procedure, and accordingly the Company reserves its rights under the ROP PSC,” African Petroleum said in its statement.

According to Reuters, Petrosen said on Thursday that the contract with African Petroleum had been canceled in April last year.

“The company was supposed to do work in compliance with its obligations and that was not done so we canceled the contract,” Petrosen Managing Director Mamadou Faye told Reuters.

The potential dispute over the offshore Senegal resources comes at a time when Australian exploration company FAR said in February that it had discovered more than 1.5 billion barrels of crude off the coast of Senegal, as a result of a 3D seismic study.

Last month, Cairn Energy said that its appraisal and exploration well program offshore Senegal continues, with the latest well drilled confirming the reservoir presence, fluid contacts, and fluid quality in line with the results from the previous wells.

In its Q1 2017 results release earlier this week, BP said that it had started exploration drilling in Senegal.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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