UK junior African Petroleum may have won some respite in arbitration proceedings before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes over revoked title to deep-water blocks A1 & A4 off Gambia.
The Oslo-listed explorer lodged three separate cases against Gambia in 2016 to prevent re-allocation of its licences, which were revoked after the government alleged non-performance of exploration commitments.
The move by African Petroleum prompted Minister of Justice Abubacarr Marie Tambadou to play for time, allowing a window of opportunity to firm up alternative suitors.
Tambadou protested concern over the fundamental legitimacy of the case and last April filed preliminary objections pursuant to Rule 41(5), which allows for the dismissal of unmeritorious claims.
The ICSID has now issued its decision on Gambia’s objections. As no award has been made and no more details have been forthcoming, it is possible that Gambia’s claims have been rejected.