July 20 (Reuters) - African Petroleum has agreed to let an exclusive agreement lapse in talks to sell oil licences in Gambia and Senegal, it said on Thursday.
African Petroleum had been in negotiations to sell a 70 percent stake in A1 and A4 offshore blocks in Gambia to an unnamed third party, along with another licence in neighbouring Senegal.
The blocks, which could contain over 3 billion barrels of oil, are adjacent to ones in Senegal where large discoveries have been made.
“The parties have mutually agreed to not extend the Exclusivity Agreement which expired today,” African Petroleum said in a statement.
“The Company has been approached by other industry players that are interested to join the Company in the A1 and A4 licences when the situation with the Gambian government is resolved,” it said.
The oil ministry told Reuters that African Petroleum had failed a number of times to meet its commitments. The company has acknowledged that it did not meet a requirement to drill a well within the timeframe of the agreement.
African Petroleum CEO Jens Pace met with Gambian President Adama Barrow on July 13 to discuss the state of the exploration licences and resolve the situation.
“The Company expects formal feedback from the Gambian government in early August,” it said, adding it had reiterated its position over its legal rights over the licences.
Uncertainty over the status of some the most promising licences in West Africa provoked a sharp drop in Oslo-listed African Petroleum’s shares earlier this month. (Reporting by Gdynia newsroom; writing by Gwladys Fouche; editing by Jason Neely)