President Umar Yar’Adua of Nigeria and his Sao Tome and Principe counterpart, Fradique de Menezes have expressed deep dissatisfaction over slow pace of action on commencement of oil explorations at the Joint Development Zone (JDZ) which belong to both countries.
They consequently promised to mount pressure on prospecting firms to continue with the exercise even as they acknowledged that licensing agreements have already being put in place for at least four out of the six blocks in the zone but that there were still some unresolved issues over rights to the two remaining blocks.
“It is time for us now to make the oil companies work in that zone between our two countries. Nigeria is going to put pressure on them to start drilling activities on the oil blocks they won and for which agreements have been signed”, Yar ‘Adua stated.
Taking a cue form Yar ‘Adua, de Menezes said: “We agreed that this is the time to make the oil companies in the zone work. The oil companies must now start work. The Nigerian president has assured me that Nigeria is now ready to mount some pressure on the oil companies in order to really start operating the oil blocks, because they must drill the blocks they won.”
Chevron, which is currently involved in exploration in the JDZ said recently that findings have not confirmed presence of crude in commercial quantity in the JDZ. Apart from Chevron, Sinopec; a Chinese firm and Addax Petroleum of Switzerland’s are two other companies that are operating in the zone.
But the Sao Tome president queried the rationale behind Chevron’s stoppage of exploration for about two years.
“We, Sao Tome and Principe, have no means like Nigeria to make the big companies fulfil the obligations they signed, but Nigeria has, because those companies also operate in Nigeria’s economic zone,” de Menezes said.