Sterling Energy in Dispute with Cameroon over Ntem Block

West Africa-focused junior explorer Sterling Energy is in a dispute with the Republic of Cameroon the ownership status of the Ntem block.

Sterling issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange Tuesday in which it said it was aware that the Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures, Cameroon's state oil company, had included a map on its Web site that indicates that the Ntem Concession is an "open block".

Sterling insists that its Sterling Cameroon Limited subsidiary is the current holder of the Ntem Concession and disputes the right of Cameroon's Ministry of Industry, Mines and Technological Development and SNH to relicense the block.

Sterling declared force majeure over the Ntem Concession on May 6, 2014, dye to overlapping maritime border claims affecting the Ntem Concession by Cameroon and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. As a result the First Renewal Period was suspended, which, Sterling said, means the Ntem Concession has not expired, so that once the force majeure is lifted there will be another 10 months of the First Renewal Period remaining.

Sterling CEO Eskil Jersing commented in a company statement:

"Sterling is disappointed that SNH and the ministry have decided to try to promote the Ntem Concession as available to the market. Sterling has been engaging SNH and the Ministry throughout 2015 and continues to seek a collaborative solution given the declaration of force majeure and subsequent suspension of the First Renewal Period from May 2014."

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