ABIDJAN (Reuters) – West Africa-focused oil and gas company African Petroleum is pulling out of its two Liberian offshore prospecting licences after it failed to attract new partners, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Production-sharing contracts for the LB-08 and LB-09 blocks formally expired in June, and African Petroleum had been in negotiations with the Liberian authorities for an extension to allow it time to seek out new investors.
It blamed challenging market conditions for exploration and a lack of commercial discoveries in Liberia for a lack of industry interest in the blocks.
“It is therefore disappointing to be exiting the country; however, our near-term focus and resources must go towards the other more exciting assets within our portfolio,” Chief Executive Jens Pace said in the statement.
The company – founded by Australian businessman Frank Timis – has equity interests in eight remaining licences in Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone.
While West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea has long been home to the continent’s main oil producers – Nigeria, Angola, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea – discoveries in Ghana have pushed companies to expand exploration operations further west.
(Reporting by Joe Bavier; Editing by Greg Mahlich)