Sao Tome and Nigeria sign shared offshore oil exploration deal

Feb 22, 2001 01:00 AM

Sao Tome and Principe and Nigeria signed a shared offshore oil exploration deal, ending a dispute over their maritime border. Nigeria will hold a 60 % stake in the 2,500-meter (8,200-foot) deep operations to be launched in 2004 near the island of Principe, about 240 km (150 miles) off the coast of Gabon, according to Sao Tome government officials.
"This is a historic day for Sao Tome and Principe that could mark a turning point for the country's economy," Sao Tome President Miguel Trovoada said in Lagos, Nigeria, where the deal was signed.

The agreement is vital for the development of oil and gas reserves in Sao Tome and Principe, a two-island archipelago of 130,000 people which is one of the world's poorest countries. It and Nigeria had been arguing for a year over their disputed maritime border.
Although oil has been found in Sao Tome and Principe's offshore waters, extraction has not yet started. US oil company Mobil had said its offshore oil exploration project in Sao Tome would not go ahead until the maritime border was set. Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, with an output of about 2.1 mm bpd.

Source: AP via Newspage
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