Gambia signs oil exploration deal with BP - president's office

Gambia signs oil exploration deal with BP - president's office
FILE PHOTO: The logo of BP is seen at a petrol station in Kloten, Switzerland October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo Copyright Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)
Copyright Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)
By Reuters
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BANJUL (Reuters) - Gambia's government said on Tuesday it had signed a contract with BP to explore oil and gas off its coast.

The statement from President Adama Barrow's office said BP representatives met Barrow at the presidential palace but provided no further details about the deal. BP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Barrow's government is trying to build up Gambia's oil and gas sector as a way of reviving an economy gutted by more than two decades of autocratic rule under former President Yahya Jammeh, who fled the country in 2017.

That same year, Barrow's government stripped Norwegian-listed African Petroleum Corporation of two offshore blocks thought to contain up to 3 billion barrels of oil, saying the licenses had expired.

The company disputed that and launched arbitration proceedings in October 2017.

The disputed blocks lie next to licences in neighbouring Senegal, where big discoveries have been made.

(Reporting By Pap Saine; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman)

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