Government of Sao Tome and Principe starts negotiations with oil company Equator Exploration

1 June 2010

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 1 June – The government of Sao Tome and Principe Monday began the first round of negotiations with Equator Exploration for exploration and sharing of oil production in two blocks in the archipelago’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment, Xavier Mendes said that Equator Exploration, which already had a stake in block 2 of the Joint Nigeria/Sao Tome and Principe Zone, had acquired blocks 5 and 12 as part of its preferential agreement.

Mendes noted that, although the oil company did not have to take part in the most recent auction in London to operate blocks 5 and 12, Equator Exploration would be “subject to all the other steps,” in this process.

The Sao Tome official said that this decision was an “important step for the country,” considering that it came as a result of the agreement signed by the oil company, PGS [a Norwegian company that provides assistance to the government of the archipelago] and the Sao Tome government.

A sources from the National Oil Agency (ANP) told Portuguese news agency Lusa that the negotiations that began Monday could take from “ a week to three months depending on the flexibility of the parties.”

Equator Exploration is a company headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, with its business focused on oil prospecting in West Africa. (macauhub)