São Tomé and Príncipe and Equatorial Guinea have signed an agreement for the creation of a Special Joint Exploration Zone for oil and gas blocks off the coast of the two countries, according to a statement recently released by the African Energy Chamber.
The decision was taken during a meeting in Malabo between the minister of Public Works, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment of São Tomé and Príncipe, Osvaldo Abreu, and the minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, according to the statement.
“The agreement comes in the wake of several cooperation agreements signed last year during the official visit of the São Tomé President, Evaristo Carvalho, to Equatorial Guinea,” the statement said, adding that exploration “may start already in October.”
The statement recalls that some groups and companies are already in São Tomé and Príncipe to conduct prospecting in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, including Portuguese group Galp Energia and US group Kosmos Energy, which operate blocks 6 and 11, respectively.
The Shell Group has stakes of 20% and 30% in the two blocks, respectively, and the statement noted that at the beginning of the year Galp Energia announced the beginning of oil prospecting in block 6, after the completion of seismic underway since 2017.