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Oil / Petroleum Sector in Gambia
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Oil Deposits:
Offshore: It is believed that The Gambia has good prospectivity for hydrocarbons (Deepwater PPL Gambia). The area marks the northern extent of the Casamance-Bissau sub-basin which forms part of the Mauritania - Senegal - Gambia - Guinea Bissau coastal basin. It is characterised by prominent halokinetic strata deformation and there are proven petroleum systems in the area.




Upstream: Although a non-oil producing nation, The Gambia has legislation, the Petroleum Act (2004), on the upstream petroleum sector. The objective of the Act is to ensure the efficient administration and management of the country’s hydrocarbon resources for the maximum benefit of The Gambia people. There are a number of petroleum companies involved in the retail of liquid fuels for vehicles via fuelling stations:

Galp Energia Gambia Ltd
Total Ltd
Elton Oil Ltd
Castle Oil Ltd.
Gambia National Petroleum Co.
Jah Oil Co.
Sandalee Oil & Trading
Speed Limited

Downstream: All petroleum products consumed in The Gambia are imported. Unlike the upstream, the downstream lacks a coherent legislation. Government’s interest is revenue bias and DOSFEA and the Customs Department play major roles in this aspect.

The Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC) is a recent entrant into the petroleum scene. The company is mandated to participate in the upstream and downstream operations in the sub-sector sector on the same terms as any oil company.

Imports & Consumption:
The Gambia is heavily dependent on imports to meet its petroleum requirements. Petroleum products consumed in the Gambia is all imported. It is the second most important source of energy in the country, after fuel wood, accounting for about 17% of total primary energy needs according to the 2004 energy balance. The petroleum requirements of the country consist of gasoline (regular and premium), kerosene, diesel oil (gasoil), LPG and jet fuel.

The consumption of liquid products grew from 86,974 metric tons in 2000 to 108,470 metric tons in 2004. Only 5% of imported kerosene is use in households as a source of lighting. There has been a steady growth in the demand for all fuels including Heavy Fuel Oil, gasoline and diesel. The main petroleum consuming sectors are electricity generation, transport, and construction. The Gambia is heavily dependent on imports to meet its requirements of petroleum derivatives, including the importation of diesel fuel for generating electricity. In 2004 The Gambia imported 113 million litres of petroleum products.

Petroleum products are used for transportation (diesel and petrol), some diesel and gasoline is also used in privately own generation and some diesel is use for power generation at the various power stations by the utility company. HFO is used almost exclusively by the national utility for power generation.

The main petroleum products of direct household energy use are kerosene and LPG. Kerosene has been used as household energy for lighting over many years. Its share of household energy balance is quite small with bulk of the fuel is consumed by rural households. Kerosene is a subsidized fuel. LPG is also a subsidized fuel as there are no import taxes on this energy source so as to encourage its use. Greater percentage of this fuel is consumed in the urban area.

The Gambia, like most oil importing countries, is susceptible to any exogenous shocks such as price increases in world oil prices. Any increases in external costs translate directly to higher importation costs and as a result higher prices at the pump. Taking into account Government taxes, any further increase in world oil price will lead to an erosion of the gains in the country’s development efforts.




Buried Hill Background in Gambia
In 2006, Buried Hill Energy signed licenses for two deepwater exploration blocks, offshore The Gambia. These blocks provide over 2,600 square kilometres of high-quality exploration acreage. Buried Hill Energy will initiate exploration drilling in 2008.



The Alhamdulilah A1 and A4 Blocks were comprehensively evaluated by Buried Hill Energy. Its analysis, which made use of state-of-the art, high-resolution 3D seismic imaging technology, has identified at least five play fairways and an inventory of over 22 prospects and leads, in what was traditionally seen as a low-prospectivity area.

Source: Buried Hill website

(Buried Hill Energy (Cyprus) Public Company Limited is an international oil and gas exploration company focused on West Africa and Central Asia)

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Licenses Issued:
[2006]
The Government of Gambia issued two licenses to Buried Hill Energy a Canadian company for the exploration and production of oil and gas prospect in the offshore areas. President Yahya Jammeh, who is responsible for energy signed the licenses while Roger Haines signed on behalf of Buried Hill Energy.

Speaking on behalf of President Jammeh shortly after the signing ceremony held at Basse, Edward Singhateh SOS for Forestry and Environment said the licenses which have been signed is a petroleum exploration and production licenses for two blocks namely A1 and A4 for the offshore exploration and drilling of wells and most likely the final production of petroleum in Gambia.

"This is the first step towards turning Gambia into a city state as promised by President Jammeh".

He said the BHE company has been chosen to come on board "our socio-economic development our country. Since he has confidence in you so do we. "We will do everything within our responsibilities to ensure not do you have a successful implementation of your project but you also meet the aspiration of Gambian people".
For his part, Roger Haines the CEO of BHE thanked President Jammeh for choosing them out of the lot for the exploration of oil in Gambia.

"I want to assure the Government that BHE will measure to exploration as signed".

Speaking earlier on, Mr Fafa Sanyang, Commissioner of Petroleum exploration said the signing of these licenses will send a positive signal to oil companies. It will as well attract more investors in the petroleum sector in Gambia.

Siaka Camara Managing Director of Gambia National Petroleum Company thanked President Jammeh for having the foresight and wisdom to take the lead promoting the frontiers of research for oil and gas prospects in Gambia.

Source: Progressive Africans - 27-09-06


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