Sao Tome and Principe Delay Licensing Round

Sao Tome and Principe has postponed its first exploration licensing round after a change of government. It was to be held in October, however, now a joint ministerial committee will meet in November or December to decide on the new date. Industry sources say the new licensing round will probably be held early 2003.

Nigeria and Sao Tome ended a long-running maritime boundary dispute in January and agreed to set up a buffer zone known as the Joint Development Zone. There are nine exploration blocks in the offshore zone run by the Joint Development Authority, an agency responsible for the development of the resources in the Gulf of Guinea. Under the agreement, oil and gas resources recovered from the area will be shared in the ratio of 60 for Nigeria and 40 for Sao Tome. The arrangement will last for 45 years, with a review after 30 years.