Sao Tome and Principe: Galp Energia interested in surveying for oil and natural gas

26 February 2008

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 26 Feb – Officials from Portuguese oil and energy company Galp Energia were met Monday by the government and president fo Sao Tome and Principe to assess the possibility of taking part in oil and natural gas prospecting projects.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, Manuel Ferreira de Oliveira, chairman of Galp Energia, said he knew of the Sao Tome government’s plans for surveying oil and natural gas at first hand and planned to look at the possibility fo taking part in some of those projects.

Sao Tome’s natural resources minister, José da Graça Diogo, said that the Portuguese oil company’s interest in the country could involve a Portuguese-speaking strategy and be extended to include Brazil’s Petrobras and Angola’s Sonangol.

“We have been in touch with the Angolan and Brazilian parties to set up a joint venture between the companies, Galp and the Sao Tome state,” Diogo said, adding that the oil companies had been discussing the issue amongst themselves.

Galp, Sonangol and Petrobras are also supporting the Sao Tome state in creating Petrogas, the future national oil company, Diogo also said, who is one of the new faces of the recently instated Sao Tome government, headed by Patrice Trovoada.

Although the existence of oil and natural gas in the exclusive economic area of Sao Tome has been confirmed, it is not certain that the deep sea reserves are economically viable.

This is not the case with the joint exploration area with Nigeria, which already has blocs established and granted for the survey phase, a process which is much more delayed in the waters of Sao Tome.

“The seismic survey has been carried out but we need to establish the areas and launch the auction,” said the Sao Tome minister, who said he believed it was “difficult” to carry out this process before the end of the year. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH