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
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
Elton Oil Ltd
Castle Oil Ltd.
Gambia National Petroleum Co.
Jah Oil Co.
Sandalee Oil & Trading
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
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
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
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)
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
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
Progressive Africans - 27-09-06