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Senegal has launched its licence round the Africa Oil Week conference in South Africa, although it faces criticism from one company for offering a disputed block.

Senegalese Minister of Petroleum and Energy Mouhamadou Makhtar Cisse officially opened the bidding process on 12 blocks in Senegal. There will be follow up roadshows in Houston and London. At this point, companies will be able to submit bids over the following six months, closing at the end of July.

There are two objectives for the licence round, Cisse said. To make new discoveries and to improve the lot of the Senegalese people. The minister went on to note the importance of transparency and sound management.

Following Cisse’s talk, presentations were given Senegalese officials Joseph Medou and Papa Samba Bâ on local content and gas, a statement from the ministry said. It noted the positive feedback and a number of requests for meetings from companies on opportunities in the country.

Cisse has already held talks with ExxonMobil and CNOOC International Ltd, the statement continued.

While companies may have expressed interest in the opportunities arising, a statement from PetroNor objected to the inclusion of the Senegal Offshore Sud Profond (SOSP) block in the offering. The company acquired African Petroleum in a deal that completed in August.

African Petroleum is working on an arbitration case on the SOSP block, where it claims a 90% stake. PetroNor said it reserved its rights to the stake in the block and that the offering did not constitute an update to the arbitration case. The company “looks forward to having the matter resolved through either the independent channels of arbitration or via a satisfactory settlement agreement in the interest of all parties”. PetroNor’s CEO, Jens Pace, was previously the CEO of African Petroleum.

Senegal’s state-owned Petrosen had announced a tender for SOSP – and a shallower adjacent block – in 2018.

The country also awarded the Ruffisque Offshore Profond (ROP) block to Total in May 2017. African Petroleum also claimed a 90% stake in this block. The French company drilled the Jamm 1X exploration well on the block but reports have suggested it was a non-commercial discovery.

Source: Energy Voice