African Petroleum Corp has launched arbitration proceedings against The Gambia over the government’s decision to strip it of its rights to explore for oil in two offshore areas, the Norwegian-listed company said on Wednesday.
The company said in a statement that two wholly-owned subsidiaries had requested arbitration with the US-based International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes “in order to protect its interests in the A1 and A4 licences”.
Licence area blocks A1 and A4 are thought to contain up to 3 billion barrels of oil and lie next to licences in neighbouring Senegal where big discoveries have been made.
“Arbitration is certainly not our preferred route. However, we believe arbitration is necessary to protect our interests in these licences in which we have made significant investment over the years,” Chief Executive Jens Pace said in the statement.
Pace has held talks with President Adama Barrow, but they have yielded no agreement. Pace said on Wednesday that the company remained open to settling the dispute through dialogue.