Sao Tome and Principe: Joint oil exploration with Nigeria restarts in May

13 March 2008

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 13 March – Sao Tome and Principe and Nigeria are due in May to restart the process of joint exploration of oil in a joint area, after it was put on hold for 18 months, the Sao Tome prime minister said Wednesday.

Patrice Trovoada, head of the Sao Tome government made the statements in a media interview following his trip to Abuja, Nigeria, in which he took part in the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC), one of the structures set up for joint oil exploration.

As well as negotiations to reach a decision on two of the six blocs for which concessions have yet to be granted, the Ministerial Council to be held in Sao Tome is also expected to approve the Joint Authority’s budget for 2008, estimated at US$13 million.

The Joint Authority is the body responsible for technical activities outlined by the Joint Ministerial Council, which makes decisions according to the policies drawn up by both countries.

“Within three months we will have another meeting of the JMC here in Sao Tome,” Trovoada said, adding that he was concerned about the “slowness” of some oil companies operating in the joint exploration area.

In March 2007, Chinese oil company Sinopec and Switzerland’s Addax Petroleum, which operate two blocs in the area, announced the start of drilling in August 2008, whilst Chevron-Texaco announced it had struck oil on its first test drill, although the amount it produced was not commercially viable.

Signed in February 2001, the joint exploration treaty states that Nigeria receives 60 percent of revenues while 40 percent goes to Sao Tome. (macauhub)