Amie Bensouda, the lawyer penning future oil deals
The Gambian authorities are not counting on lowering their oil ambitions because of their legal wrangle with African Petroleum, who is claiming breach of contract on the recently cancelled contract by the Gambia government for reason that the government alleged as the contract coming to a natural end.
Last month the African Legal Support Facility approved a half million grant to the Gambia government to take care of capacity building and advisory services for the negotiation and the contracting of oil by the Gambia through the ministry of petroleum.
Amie Bensouda and her firm as well as another international commercial law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, based in central London were contracted to work closely with the Open Oil UG, a consortium that tries to ensure transparency in the extraction of oil.
The team it is hoped will increase the capacity of the ministry (MOPE) to enable them to easily shortlist license bidders and negotiate the remaining blocks that were assigned to African Petroleum Co Ltd (APCL).
“We expect that the Ministry of Petroleum, with the support of the African Legal Support Facility team, will in due course successfully negotiate and agree licences for the remaining 6 oil blocks in including A1 & A4, in the best interest of the country and that we will be able to announce the successful completion of this project for the Gambian people,” Energy ministry said.
“The Government approach is consistent with best practice, transparent, open, fair and in the best interest of the Gambian people.”
The government through the ministry is being urged to start the award of the open blocks as soon as this year and review all license to ensure that we do not incur unnecessary costs with a lot of interest from key players, all turning to the nation for business as the government embarked on review of all license.