Accra, June 25 - (UPI/GNA) - Disputes withSenegal's government over oil and gas exploration rights offshore may head toan international panel for arbitration, African Petroleum said.
The company, which has headquarters in Londonand a core focus offshore West Africa, announced Monday talks initiated withthe government in Senegal over offshore contracts collapsed without resolution.
West African countries have been at odds overtheir maritime borders, while officials there have been vetting their corporateoptions as the potential for oil evolves. African Petroleum said it's learnedthat French super major Total completed seismic surveys near some of its assetsand announced plans for drilling next year. The company said it reserved itsclaims to the areas in question.
African Petroleum said Monday it lodged arequest for arbitration with the International Center for the Settlement ofInvestment Disputes in order to protect its interest offshore Senegal.
"Our legal position regarding our rightsover the licenses in Senegal remains unchanged," CEO Jens Pace said in astatement. "We are taking this step of initiating official disputeresolution proceedings in order to underpin and shape discussions with the government,with the ultimate aim of protecting our interests."
The broader West African basin is gaining areputation as an emerging producer and Senegal in particular could hold morethan 1.5 billion barrels of oil off its coast. Interest in the pioneeringacreage crosses maritime borders.
The French supermajor had no comment onAfrican Petroleum's request for arbitration. Total last year signed agreementsfor exploration and production within areas staked out by African Petroleum. Ina 2017 statement, Total said it would be the operator with a 90 percent stakealongside the state-owned petroleum company in Senegal.
African Petroleum initiated work to resolvecontractual disputes with the Gambian government last year, when companyofficials met with Gambian President Adama Barrow at the nation's capital,Banjul. The company at the time said the terms of its license agreements weretoo restrictive.
Arbitration regarding Gambian interest isstill proceeding.
"The company is open to engaging inconstructive dialogue with the Gambian authorities, with a view to establishinga satisfactory solution that is in the interests of all parties," itstated.
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